Pete Townshend of The Who wrote “The Real Me” 40 years ago as the second song in the rock opera Qudrophenia.
The song asks, “Can you see the real me?”
It’s a great question for leaders.
Lance Armstrong was dethroned because his behavior did not align with who he said he was. Manti T’eo of Notre Dame was either duped by or dishonest about an imaginary girlfriend.
One of 2012’s most notable cases of identity meltdown was the bankruptcy of Hostess Brands, makers of the Twinkie, Wonderbread and other products.
Today a bankruptcy court will determine if these brands will survive.
A quick look back indicates company’s failure was caused by greedy private equity firms, out-of-touch management and stubborn unions that saddled the company with restrictive health, pensions and work rules. These groups forgot what business they were really in and what their brands stood for. Their tunnel vision about each other blinded them to the realities of the marketplace.
Leadership is built on trust. And trust is earned by leaders who are authentic and vulnerable, fair and consistent, and smart and selfless.
Who are you?