At the beginning of every day, he arrived with briefcase in hand. At the end of every day, he left the office with briefcase in hand. He had the right look — a busy manager with so much to do he had to carry his work home.
However, during the day, the briefcase sat in his office, undisturbed and unopened. After a while, his employees noticed and began to wonder: “Is he really doing any work at home, or is this all for show?” They decided to find out.
How that brick found its way into his briefcase was never revealed. For days, even weeks, it was carried home every evening and returned every morning. Then came the day we all remember these many years later — he complained about how heavy the briefcase was and decided to clean it out. Under the watchful eyes of his employees, the briefcase was opened, the brick exposed. I don’t remember what he said, but I do remember that he was angry, embarrassed, and humiliated. It wasn’t just the brick that was exposed — he was exposed.
It’s pretty hard to fool people over a long period of time; especially people you live or work with on a daily basis. And when we try, we wear ourselves out carrying a brick around. People will follow leaders they believe are authentic; leaders that really are what they appear to be. And when we aren’t authentic, in any dimension of life, sooner or later, we will be exposed.
"The best way to lead people into the future is to connect with them deeply in the present."
Kouzes & Posner