Don’t Be A Fraud in Leader’s Clothing

Until we who lead know who we are, we’re fraudulent leaders–just another set of empty suits hiding behind masks of self-importance. We never set out to deceive. Rather we fall into a co-mingled perversion of capitalism and leadership that falsely equates business performance with our sense of well being.

We draw our identity and measure our lives against too many false ideals that can all too quickly become idols. For example, when business is good, then we’re feeling good about ourselves (albeit a bit nervous about next month’s numbers). If the business is bad, we’re nervous, grumpy, and driving people hard to do improve the numbers. Our sense of self is so wrapped up in an external reality that we ignore our internal signals. Only half of us is showing up to lead!

Work is not the source of our meaning in life. Work is merely an expression of our purpose that we bring to the job. Paradoxically, our job satisfaction and engagement depends upon our capacity to distance our identity from our job performance in order to free us to lead and serve others to their higher expression of their purpose.

We may hold the title, have the corner office, sit at the head of the table, but deep down inside buried below the trappings of success and responsibilities, it is lonely and scary. What makes it all the worse is all the people counting on our leadership. At times, we know we’re in over our heads but we’re too cautious to expose the truth. What will “they” think of me as a leader if I falter or don’t decide?

This kind of thinking sets a self-made snare of sorry. There is a far better way to lead, but, until recently, it took time most of us were unwilling to carve from our busy schedules.

Purpose is the origin of leadership. When we don’t know our purpose, then we carry deep doubt about ourselves on to the job, at home, and whereever we are. Purpose is the central core of who we are. It is our reason for being, our why. Purpose is innate and unconditional. It isn’t defined by what we are doing, but rather who we are being. Purpose is the heart of our hearts, the starting point for truly knowing who we are. And just as importantly, who we aren’t.

The most costly hidden or denied cost we face is not knowing our purpose. Being adrift in our identity diminishes opportunities and productivity over our lifetime. We’re left making decisions that are polling-based instead of anchored in our purpose. Absent this centering piece within, we’re tossed to and fro by the waves and winds of life and work.

Ingeniously, helps us know our purpose in less than 5 minutes. Instead of spending our time wandering in the wilderness searching for purpose, we can be investing our time giving greater expression to it. The naked knowing of who we are shifts our worldview. Why settle for a sense of purpose when the substance of purpose is so close. Set the cornerstone for leading our lives and being trusted by others who look to us for guidance, wisdom, and, especially, authenticity.

Let’s come out from the darkness found behind our masks. There’s no need to fraudulently, “Fake it ’til you make it.” The sunlight is a healing pathway to becoming a more complete you–a leader of your life and a leader where you work regardless of your title.