People will go to insane levels to be admired. They will move to suburbs they cannot afford, drive cars they can’t afford or buy clothes they can’t afford, just to be admired. It’s not just the financial compromises we make, as leaders, what is the true price of admiration.
A man or woman who gets into a sexual relationship in the workplace may give up their self-expression. Because of their action, they won’t be able to critique, or oppose the direction the team or company takes. This undermines performance, both at a personal, team and company level.
Many leaders don’t fully appreciate the high, hidden cost of wanting to be admired. In their determination to please everyone, they compromise their authenticity. In the BAL course, authenticity is defined as one of the four foundational factors of leadership.
Because of the pervasive inauthenticity in our world, leaders often pay a high price to be authentic. Authenticity is not always met with praise or agreement. Being authentic will not always make you popular, and for sure not always admired.
The paradox is that without authenticity you can forget about being a leader. Authenticity is being and acting consistent with who you hold yourself out to be for others, and who you hold yourself to be for yourself. When leading, being authentic leaves you grounded, and able to be straight with yourself, and straight with others without using force.
We also all want to be seen by our colleagues as being loyal. The problem is that in many situations, we are being loyal solely to avoid the loss of admiration. In such situations, we are ready to sacrifice our authenticity to maintain the pretense of being loyal. If we knew the true price of our inauthenticity, would we still pay to remain loyal?