I was reminded of an event that happened years ago. I was at a card shop with my wife and my mother. I watched them laughing so hard they were wiping tears away. Of course I wanted to get in on the hilarity but when I approached them they were both laughing so hard they couldn’t let me in on the joke. They just handed me the card they thought was so funny.
It was a birthday card. On the outside the card said something like; “When we were young we used to pull pranks on each other, play practical jokes and trick and tease each other. But now that we’re grown, isn’t it great we can have a mature, respectful relationship? So on your birthday, I just wanted to let you know…” With that, you’re supposed to open the card to finish reading the sentimental conclusion – but the card is glued shut. Of course when I made my attempts to open the card, it sent my wife and mother back into hysterics.
What had happened that I didn’t know was my mother had picked up the card first and spent a great deal of time trying to open it before she finally got it. She laughed out loud. My wife came over to her and Mom handed her the card. My wife tried to open it and couldn’t. Which, of course, made my mother laugh harder. Then when my wife finally ‘got it’, she laughed at the card and laughed harder that my mom was laughing. You know how that goes? The laughter is contagious. They couldn’t stop. It was dying down when I had my experience with the card, then the laughter started over again.
Things had about settled down when one of us – I’m not sure who – said we were going to write a book called, Everything I Know About Sex and Am Not Afraid to Tell. The book would be glued shut. What a night! We didn’t buy the card and the book hasn’t been published.
What does this have to do with leadership? I’ve known leaders who were closed books. Their lives were secretive and solitary. They were not open, so their leadership (and motives) were always in question. Great leaders are open books. Their life is one of character and credibility. They may have made mistakes – big ones. But their mistakes aren’t hidden, or ignored. Their mistakes are dealt with; lessons are learned and growth happens. Great leaders are open books.
Points to Ponder –
Is your life an open book?
Do you have secrets and secret agendas you hope to keep secret?
What are the risks of having secrets reveals? What are the rewards of being open? How do they compare?
Copyright 2013 LeadersBridge