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The Honesty Principle

On January 22, 2010, in Leadership Principles, by Neculai Fantanaru

Don't ask from people more than you are asking from yourself.

I strongly believe that everything happens for a purpose. Being intelligent creatures, we have the power and it's our duty to learn something from each and every one of our experiences, pleasant or not, entertaining or discouraging. And if everything recurs in life, that means we haven't learned a thing from the lessons we were supposed to learn. That's why I believe that people can progress only if they want to. Otherwise, there will be nothing new under the sun.

Last week, I met a special man. I call him special because, in some way, he doesn't resemble anyone else. And, especially, because he taught me a valuable lesson that I'm sure I will find useful in the future.

I was in a gym, playing football with my friends, some of them with which I had been colleague at the same football club years ago. The gym was pretty large and modern. We had a nice game. But one of the three teams didn't play that well. It was obvious. It's no wonder the players' passes didn't bond, because they were random. They were losing many balls, they didn't run at all, they didn't help each other, but played individually. There was no connection. Their game was evolving on the wrong lines.

The moment we took a break, sitting on the bench next to Andrei, the captain of the team, I couldn't help but ask him: "Andrei, why don't you talk with the boys of your team to make them concentrate more on the game? Don't you see you're getting nowhere? You never played so weak like you did today."

In the answer I received is only praise: "Nicu, these boys played by my side for years. We know each other well. They also trust me, like I trust them. But if I don't play well, they notice and they don't struggle to better me. Don't you see that I also play like a rag today? That's why I can't ask them more than I ask from myself. When I'll perform a fine game and I won't lose that easily so many passes, only then I could lay claims to them. Otherwise, I can't do that. How could they follow me if I'm the one playing the weakest of all?"

Leadership: Do you honor yourself as a winner in a performance test by trusting your authority’s reply to a message such as "Failed Authentication"?

The results of a team depend on its leader's efforts. That day, Andrei taught me an important lesson that many refuse to learn: when the leader "plays" weakly, the rest of the team immediately abandons the race. But, moreover, that a leader can't criticize or judge the members of his team and can't lay claims on them while he can't fulfill his duty flawlessly.

The authority of a leader fails considerably, causing a disadvantage of image that does not cancel itself when his reaction to the pressure of a party is directed to another facet of his nature – manifested by the duality of the will to want to change something pertaining to yourself and the instinct to support a greater cause. In other words, a failed authentication takes place in an image experience through which the leader reaches a level of interiorization that shakes his old beliefs and principles from their roots, being called upon to have a partial behavior towards himself.

There are many leaders, and now I'm talking in general, who aren't that sincere and honest like Andrei is. They ask from people more than asking from themselves. Is this normal? Of course, I do realize that some who have leadership positions have the authority to intervene and implement various changes, to impose rules, to take decisions and demand the subordinates to obey them in order to achieve their goals.

But I find it an outrageous lack of professionalism to demand from people something beyond what you're capable to offer yourself. An absolute lack of fair-play. A total absence of respect to the members of the team who struggle to make a good work, who do their best in order to achieve better results.

Leadership: Are you hurt by the instinct to relate how you perceive your role and what you assume when you alienate yourself from the chance of making a difference in team results?

To form a certain conviction of your non-acceptance as a whole of emotions and tensions, then to act according to it, is to become a man known under the cover of a seeming comedian, not under a cover of aspiration towards performance and perfection. Solemn is only the one who wants to be, in all respects, pretentious with the performance he is proud of.

And who gets anchored in a man wounded by the instinct of linking the way he sees his role and what he assumes when he is alienated from the chance of making a difference in the team’s result by taking care of managing the emotions lived through firm commitments, will remain in a constant state of dissatisfaction until he abandons any relationship with will.

The duty of a leader is to be close to people, to give them a hand at need, to reward each of them according to their performance. But if he doesn't struggle at all, if he doesn't care for the team's results and doesn't involve himself into supporting and developing the team, then the subordinates, at their turn, won't have concrete reasons to be interested either. And if the leader challenges people more than he does with himself, then they'll label him as being "inadequate" and they'll come to replace the leader.

Leadership is the chance to make a difference in the team’s result, without letting yourself be guided by the background circumstances created by an act of renunciation, leniency or mercy.

P.S. If you want to achieve your goals, you always have to keep in mind the competences of the team and not to ask from people more than you are asking from yourself.


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