#ThursdayThought – The Optics Problem
You hear it from bosses and parents many times.
“Now make sure we behave ourselves when (regional leadership)/(grandparents or minister) comes to visit us.”
“After all, we need to look good in front of them.”
When anyone is worried more about looking good for the sake of optics, rather than doing what’s good and right as a matter of practice – there raises a red flag that those in authority aren’t truly being the example leadership they should be.
Whether it’s fudging the numbers on reports, checking the boxes to ensure tasks are done, or creating the rehearsed “dog and pony show” to stay in someone’s good graces, the failure of leadership to develop their people to create the right patterns of thinking and behavior to do what should be done reveals the leader’s true heart.
Optics are just a cheap way to be a leader. The great leaders ensure that their people are solid performers.
Great leaders don’t ask their people to “stay in their lane” or be scarce when others come to check on them. They encourage honest conversations and want to place their people front and center to prove how great their people are. This is the antithesis of leaders who want to do all the talking to control the situation so they look good.
The optics problem always reveals a leader or a broader organizational culture that allows this type of leadership mindset to exist. It fosters the place-holding of a leader who doesn’t want to look bad instead of generating a dynamic of leaders who excel at developing great people and great systems.
Optics aren’t everything, but they reveal more than the facade they create.