Earlier this week I had some meetings with some great people talking about leadership. Getting ready for work that morning I decided to go full-blown shirt and tie. Yep, I’ve got dozens of ties, lots of suits, but frankly, that’s just not me. But my expectation was that other’s expectations were that I should wear a shirt and tie. Even writing this now seems absurd. But it’s what I did and I admit to having done it in the past.
My first appointment was smartly dressed with an open neck shirt. “so, where does your programme fit in? what’s different to others he asked”. “Well I said, it’s about authenticity, we want people to develop the real leader inside them – not like a copy of someone they think is a great leader – take Barak Obama, most people would say he’s so natural, himself.” Then it hit me and I confessed! “Like, me I’m wearing a tie because I thought you would, and you’re not. You’re authentic and I’m not!”.
I think I learnt more from the meeting than he did. I should say a belated thanks.
What is the relationship between other’s expectations and our authentic self? Why do we slip and slide around our own real self to meet other’s expectations? Should we? Someone suggested that there is place for a shirt and tie. Is there? What place is that? Someone else’s place where you want to please them by being like them? Why?