Most of you are too young to remember, but in the fifties (I said you were too young), The Lone Ranger was a hit ABC TV western. The script was simple: The Lone Ranger (face hidden by a mask) and his sidekick, Tonto, rode into a town just in time to save an aging rancher and his always beautiful daughter from losing their ranch to a heartless banker who held the mortgage that was delinquent because all the cattle had been rustled by—you guessed it—rustlers working for the banker. The show always ended the same way—The Lone Ranger breaking the daughter’s heart by riding into the sunset as she asked, “Who is that masked man?”
“Who is that masked man?” was great (?) television, but it’s lousy leadership. In your quest for leadership credibility (see previous posts), being seen and known is a big deal. Ivory tower, seldom-seen leaders have little credibility. Employees need to know you by sight. You don’t want to hear, “Who is that masked man?” when you are walking about.
When I became president of The Aerostructures Corporation in 1994, I made it a practice to walk the factory floor and the offices several times a month. My predecessor had rarely walked through the factory, so being on “their turf” was new to them. Their reaction? “It sure is nice to see the president out here.”
Here’s the rub: I hadn’t done a thing except roam around, say hello, and ask how they were doing. The result? I started gaining credibility in their eyes. Is that easy or what?
The #1 step (last week’s post) to increase your leadership credibility was to Be Honest. #2 is Be Visible. Anybody can do this. You just have to decide to get out of your office and be willing to get some dirt on your shirt or blouse.
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Copyright 2015 by Dick Wells, The Hard Lessons Company
"The best way to lead people into the future is to connect with them deeply in the present."
Kouzes & Posner