Breaking the Peek-A-Boo Cycle
Fear is behind leaders who withdraw into ivory towers. Transparency terrifies; they’re peak-a-boo leaders.
Perhaps someone will see they don’t know as much as they pretend or can’t do as much as they let on.
- What if I don’t know?
- What if they don’t respect me?
- What if I make a mistake?
- What if others find out?
- What if they get too close to me?
Fear creates barriers – barriers block influence. Arm’s-distance leaders limit their influence.
You can tell when leaders posture and pretend, yet you play along. Worse yet, you join the façade.
The deepest danger of fearful leaders is
they create fear-driven cultures.
Fear or real:
I’ve talked with leaders from around the globe, the real ones stand out. Authentic leaders inspire me to become. Fearful leaders illustrate the path to avoid. They show me what not to become.
Transparency connects. When you lower your façade, they lower theirs – connection occurs.
Telling others how you really are in the present may be too much of a jolt for them and you.
Share stories from your past. Begin by saying, “I remember when ______.” Fill in the blank with a story that expresses powerful emotion like joy, fear, pride, or sorrow.
Transparency isn’t just about negative or dark emotion. Share the good stuff, too.
I’m not suggesting you spill your guts. But, stop pretending you’re something you aren’t.
The Leadership component:
Always include optimism and confidence when you express dark or negative emotion. “We’re facing a challenge that keeps me up at night,” by itself is woe-is-me self-indulgence. Adding, “I believe we can rise up and overcome,” expresses leadership.
How can leaders navigate the waters of transparency?
Leaders need to understand, their constituents mirror their behavior.
You get what you give.
Who said if you don’t lead by example you don’t lead at all?
A very clear discussion of authentic and fearful leaders. Excellent. I agree the fearful leaders are driven by negative emotions whereas authentic leaders are driven by positive emotions. Transparency is the challenging part of leadership journey. It takes lot of courage and sacrifice to execute it. Organizations might have policy where execution of transparency is even more difficult. And fearful leaders avoid it.
Why some leaders fear ? I think there are many reasons. But some are stronger in nature. They fear because they concern about their position. They fear because they are incompetent. They fear because they can not survive anywhere else. They fear because for them this could be the best place and biggest dream.
Organizational practices should deal with such practices strictly because it spreads like virus. People follow such practices and perceive it as a key success factors.
Organization should reward authenticity, transparency and discourage fear, pessimism,rumors that fearful leader embrace.
Here’s what you taught me.. willingness to let go or lose our position helps us overcome fear… fear makes us cling… courage enables to let go.
It takes time and distance and a great deal of reflection to understand that I once worked in a place with a peek-a-boo leader. While I was in the situation, I couldn’t figure out what was going on or why I always felt so off center. You have described it perfectly.
On another note: I remember when…I was starting a business for the first time. I was 31 years old. A situation came up in which I was required to write a business plan. I thought to myself and admitted to friends, “I don’t know how to write a business plan.” But I asked questions and I learned. I found out it wasn’t the giant mystery or overwhelming task I thought it would be. Throw in a lot of time and persistence and the business worked.
Next discovery? Most of life is just like that. You first don’t know. You read, ask questions, push down the fear, work hard, surround yourself with hard working optimistic people, and persist.
You can accomplish so much more than you at first believe.
FEAR AND ITS IMPACT ON CREATING/SUSTAINING INFLUENCE IS REALLY TRUE . thanks pl.
What if…. Those two words are huge barriers for some people. I often say “If no is the worse possible outcome, then whats that harm? Be prepared to hear no – but What if it is yes?” Then What if could be glorious!
“There´s nothing to fear but fear itself”… how true this Franklin D. Roosevelt quote is. Most of you probably also know the Johari-window. The Johari-window defines our potential to be what neither we nor other know about ourselves. We have all our fears. Get to know and understand your fear and you will grow your potential.
Thanks for this post. I can think of times I used transparency inappropriately. It is worth the risk, though, to learn the art of being transparent.