The Real Leader

My sister, Denise, recently emailed me this quote. 

“He has genuine integrity, he has serious style, and he’s pulled me through more than one bout of the stomach flu. Anybody can sprinkle rose petals across a big brass bed, but only a real man will hold your hair while you’re throwing up.”

– Columnist Lisa Kogan on her longtime love, Johannes

While the message is self explanatory for those of us that are married… I believe there is a lesson to be learned for people in leadership positions.

Sprinkling Rose Pedals

You see, any leader can wow audiences with fancy PowerPoint presentations and powerful words. You know who I am talking about. The leader who seems so smooth nothing can stick to them. I call them Teflon leaders.

But I liken this style of leadership to the man who ignores his wife and children 6.5 days a week, and then expects to make things better with expensive presents (for the kids) and rose pedals sprinkled across the bed (for the wife).

Don’t get me wrong… presents for the kids and romance is great. But it cannot be the main stay of a healthy relationship.

The Real Leader

Instead of this superficial style of leadership, the real leader goes to the gemba (place the work is done) to see what is actually happening (genchi genbutsu) instead of attempting to manage from a conference room.

The real leader knows talk is cheap, and that his or her actions will ultimately form their legacy.

The real leader listens, respects, challenges, disciplines, and genuinely cares about his or her employees.

Yes, real leadership is hard to practice. But just like a healthy and happy home life, it’s definitely worth the effort.

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