“People want leadership…they’re thirsty for it…”
That line is from Aaron Sorkin’s great 1990’s film, “The American President.” If anyone hasn’t seen it, the film offers some amazing insights into what real leadership is via Michael Douglas’ character of President Andrew Sherherd.
Sorkin’s quote holds true today as well, especially in large business organizations. We WANT a leader to emerge who offers guidance and who communicates a vision and strategy that we can rally around.
But that only happens if you ARE visible and have channels of communication set up to reach your employees.
Visibility means not hiding behind your desk and collaborating in secret. It means getting out and asking questions and listening to staff. It means openly soliciting ideas and feedback. Visibility also means having a time and place to communicate: not just for the sake of communicating and taking up valuable time, but when there is a definite reason to speak. Call it Communicating with a Purpose.
It’s more than the annual company meeting or sales event. Real leaders have set channels of communication to make sure they are visible and that their messages get heard.
We’ll continue our next post with a discussion of what those communication channels can be in an age of Twitter and Web 2.0.
In the meantime, rent “The American President” or, if you like, go back and look at episodes of "The West Wing". Sorkin turned his award-winning movie into the Emmy winning West Wing series with Martin Sheen. Either way, take a cue from Douglas and Sheen's highly visible leaders.
Next post: channels of communication