Iwatched Britain’s Got Talent the other evening. One participant in particular stood out during this leg of the semi-finals. The first time I saw him participate during the quarter finals I couldn’t wait to see and listen to him again. Well, he didn’t disappoint, because he sat down behind the piano and played and sang with such undeniable sincerity that he had the live and television audience spell bound. He seemed to absolutely connect with the song, its lyrics, the essence of the message, even though he is a teenager. And on top of this he of course has needed talent.
Watching him had me thinking deeply about the quality of sincerity in general, but especially in leadership, so I tweeted this: “Leadership is…being undeniably sincere as a person – in motives, in word, in deed…in everything”.
These are some of the questions I directed at my panel on the weekly leadership master class. (Listen Here: CliffCentral Show)
- Do you agree that someone in a leadership position that is undeniably sincere will be a better leader? If you agree, which you probably do, why?
- What and who do you see when you think “sincere”?
- Why is one person sincere and another isn’t? What makes someone sincere?
- What stops a person from being sincere?
- Are we seeing enough sincerity in our leaders – politicians, corporate, civic, education, sports, everywhere?
- If sincerity isn’t present, what replaces it, other than the obvious answer of its opposite – insincerity.
- How can a leader become more sincere? Can this be taught, practiced?
Possible replacements for sincere are: genuine, honest, open, truthful, earnest, straight, heartfelt, frank… But there is something about the word “sincere” that attracts me. Sincere may in part have the same meaning as all these other words, but it is accompanied by kindness, strength, steal – definitely not by weakness or non-performance.
Sincere is about a genuine agenda, where one’s actions matches ones words and even motives or intentions. Sincere is honesty from the heart. One can be honest from the mind, intellectually, but when combined with emotion – the heart – honesty transforms into sincerity. Sincere is when you move beyond the principle of “fake it till you make it”.
We need more sincerity from leaders, even though they are pressed for time, for speedy delivery and the pressure is on to achieve the “impossible”.
The final question is to yourself: How sincere am I?
I might believe I am sincere, but do those around me, in particular my followers experience me as such? If they don’t I guarantee you there is limited trust between you and them, and without high levels of trust you will not create an environment and necessary commitment from followers to achieve optimally.
I have no doubt that listening to the master class conversation will assist you on your journey towards becoming a more sincere leader. Comments from panel members were extraordinary!
Do you recognize some areas in yourself or your team that need improvement? Email Adriaan on firstname.lastname@example.org for more on creating “Leadership Fit” leaders that generate successful movement (performance) inside your organisation.