Some leaders sound very leaderly, in voice tone, in formality, in their calculated reserve. They probably don’t use words like suck, my bad, dude, or play fantasy baseball. That’s OK. A lot of people want that kind of leader, or at least one that presents that way. I have ten bucks that says they don’t sound like that at home.
You know– how when the microphone is on, and the president doesn’t know it, and says stuff like “My fellow Americans, I am pleased to tell you today that I’ve signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.” VERY presidential. Or when George Bush told Bob Woodward (in regard to Saddam Hussein): “We will kick his ass.” Yeah, like that. I can’t remember whether the infinitely presidential and oratorical President Clinton had any such indiscretions…
Anyway, one of my favorite pop culture icons for transformed, authentic leadership comes from this fellow:
He was pretty daunting, had a booming, presidential voice that commanded fear and respect, while promising hope, if only you would be appropriately deferential and work on his time schedule. He was not that attuned to his constituencies, from what I could gather.
The Wizard of Oz did his best work when he came out from behind the awesome curtain and was authentic, and real, and face to face with his people.
He was no longer the “Great and powerful Wizard of Oz.” He no longer demanded that they pay no attention to that man behind the curtain, or that they come back tomorrow.
But he was more effective, more relational and relatable, more connected.
So I don’t think it would be a bad thing if every leader had an “Inner Toto” , a kind of Terrier of Higher Consciousness, that pulled back the curtain and revealed the real person behind it. We would all be more authentic, more really who we are, and NOT necessarily less effective as a leader.
Remember the clarification that was reached right after that great Toto moment?
Holy smokes, Dorothy let him have it:
“Oh – you’re a very bad man!”
To which our not altogether fearless, but increasingly more effective leader responded:
“Oh, no, my dear. I – I’m a very good man. I’m just a very bad Wizard.”