Authentic Leaders Don’t Have Hidden Agendas
A report I read from a colleague seemed innocent enough. Their report featured some great history and principles in their industry. The research was thorough, the points were solid, and it made a strong conclusion based on the evidence presented. Overall, the report was well-received and widely distributed to other leaders.
Shortly afterwards this leader submitted another, smaller, scathing report. They criticized everyone for not realizing a trend in the first report that favored a certain demographic. As a result, this person claimed that everyone had an inferior view of their role and took them to task.
The reaction was a major backlash that hurt their credibility. The other leaders felt like they were baited and set up. Some of them thought that if an underlying point was to be made, why didn’t this person come above board and state that in their initial report. Many said that while they could now see the viewpoint of their colleague, the agenda was not the issue and had no bearing on the task at hand. While it created the desired buzz that they wanted, my colleague soon found that their influence was diminished and fewer people held them in much esteem.
The lesson learned here is this: To be a truly authentic leader with any degree of positive influence, you must keep your intentions on the table for all to see.
No one likes to be blindsided or shamed into compliance, and a leader who baits others to trap them in a situation or position creates discord that pulls the team away from them. If you feel you need to set others up to make a point, it may be that you’re actually missing the point of your role to begin with. By baiting others, you actually show fear and lack of confidence in your own leadership abilities.
Leadership, the ability to influence others for a common goal and common good, is only effective when authentic motives are in play.
Build your case by being above board. Keep your agendas out in the open. Embrace rejection or differing viewpoints. But by all means, be authentic every step of the way.