When you think about leaders being real and you consider, for example, Generation Y, the latest generation in the workplace, their ability to filter people being real or not real is really high. They have been exposed to so much they can tune out very quickly when they hear a message that doesn’t feel authentic. And that’s because they are the generation that’s been most marketed to generation, if that’s a word, on earth. They’ve seen so many television commercials over their lifetime. I believe the statistic is by the time they are twenty-one they’ve seen at least half a million television commercials. They know what’s real. They know what’s fake. And they crave that authenticity and they expect it when they come into the workplace, so you can’t pull the wool over their eyes. They want (management) to be genuine, and the minute they feel that someone isn’t, they aren’t being real and genuine, it’s a turnoff straightaway.
Humility, admitting when you’ve made a mistake, or admitting when you could have done something differently, is a very attractive quality. ‘Humility’ should never be confused with ‘humiliation’. So when people see you being real my definition of that is people see you being like this with people (hands even to each other) and you’re not being like this with people (one hand above the other) and put yourself on the same level, then it’s really attractive to someone to feel like they are your equal. Often people in a leadership role feel they need to impose their authority; so, if we can act without imposing our authority, we’re going to do a lot to attract people to feel comfortable.
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