What can you say Mother?

Often when I ask people who are the leaders they admire, along with the usual suspects of Peter Blake, Nelson Mandela and Ghandi we often hear “my mother” or “my father”. We also hear about that other mother, Mother Teresa.

I’m reading essays by Christopher Hitchens who is pretty unflattering about Mother Teresa and accuses her of stage-managing images of poverty to ensure that those who were in poverty, stayed there, even when in her care ie the places she set up, even in America, were stripped of all possible trappings of normal civility.

Lately I have realised that the phrase authentic leadership development is absurd. It’s discovery. Running alongside the idea of authenticity in a parallel, but not necessarily the same universe is the concept of personal branding. Develop your personal brand ladies and gentlemen so people know not only who you are, what you stand for but also what you’re really about.

Is that authentic? Or is it marketing spin? Was Mother Teresa an authentic leader? Or did she simply have a brand of poverty that gave her followers? Does it matter?

Only you know that. Mother Theresa can’t answer that. If, like me, you’re fortunate enough to have a mother you could ask, I’d hazard a guess that she wouldn’t give you much of an answer though. My mother never branded or got told how to brand. But I know what she stands for. So does she.

That’s important I reckon.

Are you prepared to model the real you?

This evening I had the pleasure of attending a fashion show put on by the Auckland Zonta Club.  Zonta I discovered, is an international organisation dedicated to advancing the status of women.  This was no ordinary fashion show.  Held in the beautiful Fables Antique rug gallery in Parnell, Auckland the models were almost all, well, not models. But you’d hardly know it!

Here were women from all walks of life, all ages, parading it out in front of a big crowd seated around the rugs to an eclectic music mix including Carmen, Paolo Conte and Michael Jackson.

My immediate reaction was this was a beautiful display – all the women were beautiful.  And brave.  Braver than all of us on the rugs, that’s for certain.

I’ve blogged a bit about authenticity and uncovering the real you to find the authentic leader that exists in us all.

When we’re comfortable enough in our own shoes, when we know who we are and why, we’re comfortable to present ourselves to the world as that real person.

In return we win respect from those around us and become role models for others to aspire to.

Zonta turned this concept into glamorous reality tonight.

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