Let me start with a story…
I once know a girl who’s the sweetest person anyone would ever meet, always smiling, always have a nice flattering praise for anyone she bumped into, always prepared with a joke or two to tell at gatherings, always have a party trick or two at parties. To any casual observer she came across as the perfect, charming lady, in every way.
However, when you interacted with her a bit more, you began to notice something not quite right… the hollowness of the interactions, the lack of sincerity in the over flattering praises (you will know when you don’t deserve a praise, everyone does, even if they do enjoy the attention, they always know when it’s not sincere or too over the top), the well rehearsed routines and jokes… and that whenever a conversation got serious, whether it’s one-to-one or in a group, she started to crack jokes to break up the conversation… she’s only comfortable in superficial environments where she’s impressing & entertaining others…
As she grew up, she end up in sales and she did very well, but she always hit a ceiling whenever there’s an opportunity to move into leadership positions… She remained a good salesperson making a good income but is stuck at that level…
Have you ever encounter such individuals in your life, where a seemingly ‘perfect’ person with a ‘perfect’ personality hits a ceiling?
Or maybe you cannot relate to this example, but you have seen other seemingly confident, charming and charismatic types stuck in mediocrity, while others who appear ‘ordinary’ or even a bit ‘flawed’ leapfrog them and achieve more?
How does that happen? Lets continue the story…
In one to one selling, charming someone into buying something and keeping that person happy with praises and little favors is no problem for her, she even get plenty of referrals, it keeps her going.
However, leadership requires connecting with other human beings. It requires the ability to trust and show a real, genuine side. Every true leader is real in some ways and have some flaws, it’s human. Followers need to ‘get’ what the leader is about, what her values are, her vision for the team and how she see them achieving their goals… just being the perfect charming person with a ready smile and flattering praises is no longer enough when it comes to leading. A leader cannot tell everyone what they want to hear and yet expect them to move in the same direction, only people who are aligned move in the same direction. Great leaders get real with themselves and others. Even average leaders who are vulnerable and insecure have willing followers.
What about the phrase “Fake It Until You Make It”?
You may have heard of that popular phrase of faking it until you make it, let me explain. That only works if you are ‘faking’ your confidence level, optimism or competence in order to give others and yourself the motivation and drive to pursue your objectives.
Leadership, whether it is in a business, in a relationship or in a family, where the relationships are long-term in nature, you cannot fake your values, your vision and your connections with the people involved without losing them when they figure out you are faking it, because faking these are as good as lying and being deceitful.
‘Faking It’ is not the same as being a Fake Person.
I hope I have given you clarity of this popular phrase today and I hope you add a new phrase to your toolbox, To Progress, You Need to Connect.
Remember, we are talking about the long-term here, your business, your family, your relationships. To progress, you need to connect.
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