I was asked, “What is the most important ingredient of leadership?”
My response began with a demonstration. I simply told the audience to follow my directions and clap on the count of three. I repeated the instructions several times, “Clap on the count of three.” I asked for clarity to make sure everyone understood the directions, “Clap on the count of three.” I was assured by the listeners that they all got it.
Then I counted to three and clapped, as did all the audience members. I paused and said, “Okay, clap on the count of three.” I counted, “One, two, three…” and then clapped. Everyone counted along with me and mimicked my movements by clapping after verbalizing the, “Three.”
I then pointed out that no one had followed my directions. I had made them clear, even making sure they understood exactly what the directions were; but no one followed the directions. Everyone looked quizzically at me, most did not understand, while others gently nodded their heads knowing what was coming next.
The directions were simple and clear, clap on the count of three. But everyone did what I did, not what I instructed; they all clapped after the count of three instead of on the count of three.
The lesson is simple – people will do what they see, not what you say. The most important ingredient of leadership is integrity. Great leadership has credibility.
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