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How to Move into Your Glass House of Leadership with Confidence

I was asked in an interview with Yahoo! Finance LIVE about how our government should apply the principles from my book, Transfluence. In the brief moments we had, I provided a short answer, but as you might guess, I began to think about a longer response to the question afterward.

If we adhere to the idea that politics are a reflection of our society, then applying transformative influence in a governmental setting should be no different than how a leader might apply transfluence in life or in business.

Transfluent leaders make a positive impact on others by the consistent value-centric choices they make. Of course, politics is on a much larger, public stage. I explained to the Yahoo! hosts, Brian and Ines, that we live in a world of glass houses. Political, nonprofit, and business leaders—whether they manage their public personas or not—live out these decisions and organizational conduct for all to judge.

Glass houses are courtesy of our exploding digital age. For better or worse, anyone can post their commentary in the moment on any given social platform. Three in ten American adults are online constantly, while another four in ten report being online at least several times a day. And roughly half of younger adults, or eighteen- to twenty-nine-year-olds, say they’re online constantly. It’s no wonder that some high-profile leaders are cautious about public announcements.

Despite the growing number of eyes, many leaders have successfully moved into their glass houses. They manage a healthy bottom line and cultivate a positive working culture by living out their organizations’ values in every choice they make. Other leaders are not so fortunate. They look for dark corners that don’t exist, resorting to feigned positivity with false narratives, which produce irregular decisions and results.

Your choices over time are like any leadership behavior; what’s projected on the exterior reflects your interior—who you are, what you think, and what you believe. If your choices are applied without a consistent compass and intentionality that’s aligned with espoused values, employees and customers are left to determine for themselves whether you’re trustworthy or not. In the absence of substantive and reliable choices, distrust builds.

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A leader’s value-centric choices are at their best when they become the fabric of a culture and the foundation of transformative influence. Transfluence is a twenty-four/seven intentional mindset smart leaders adopt because they understand that a culture worth having is an incredible asset in good times and in bad. If you’re watching for it, a transfluent culture shows an arc of thoughtful choices that, when held up to the light, are often impervious to glass-house judgment. 

Nobel Laureate Albert Camus said, “Life is a sum of all our choices.” I’d like to think the same principle applies to leadership. What will your sum be? Will people regard your leadership tenure as one of intentional positive choices? Don’t forget it’s a determination they can make easily—especially with glass houses.

Comments

  1. Mie

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    Reply to Mie

  2. Robert J. Watson

    Walt,
    The unfortunate truth is that politicians are totally opaque in their actions and policies because they believe THEY ARE ESSENTIAL. Not the people, the Constitution, reality or even learned behavior that over time has proven to be effective is more important than their position in government. We only have to look back a few weeks to the election as proof that untruth, obfuscation and “marketing the myth” of reputation leads to consequences unknown and far-reaching. I don’t for a minute think that either of our political parties has a more righteous reputation, but I do believe that if either party followed your precepts they would eventually be rewarded handsomely though the interim change period might be tremendously unsettled.

    Reply to Robert J. Watson

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