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.

  1. What if I don’t know?
  2. What if they don’t respect me?
  3. What if I make a mistake?
  4. What if others find out?
  5. 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.

Getting started:

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?