Truth is a point of view, but authenticity can’t be faked. – Peter Guber
The road to success today has changed dramatically from when I first became a point leader over 30 years ago. Back then, leadership was all about command and control. Someone else had to give you the power and authority to lead. If you had the right suit, spoke with authority, had the proper education and received the correct title, you were anointed as a leader. But, there was little ability to self-identify as a leader and earn any respect.
Today, you can build a tribe of followers almost overnight if you have the right message. Today, it is all about authenticity. How connected you are doesn’t matter as much these days as we no longer have to worry about geographical limitations due to the power of the internet.
For great examples of how this new “road to success” works, look no farther than YouTube and TED Talks. Someone can go from being a researcher who spends all of their time in a lab to an overnight celebrity thought-leader with one rousing speech.
It is undoubtedly a great time to be a leader or an aspiring leader, but as quickly as you can climb, you can also crash that much faster. In the past, there was less visibility, so you could more easily hide your faults or bad behaviors.
But today, the microscope on leaders is much stronger. The same magnifying glass that can increase your influence at record speed also magnifies the expectations your followers have of your leadership. More than anything, people want authenticity from those they follow. So, before you take your leadership public, make sure you truly live the values that you project—only then can your overnight success have real staying power.
Question: Think about the renowned thought-leaders you follow, what about them do you admire the most? Is your leadership reflecting those qualities?