“I’m sorry if what I said wasn’t received well by a few overreacting people and it caused trouble for all of you. I really do believe it was the right thing to say at the right time and I don’t know how I could have said it any differently.” She shrugged her shoulders as she waited for our team’s response. We said nothing.
Our leader had surprised our team by “going rogue” and communicating an unapproved, controversial message to our consumers. When we brought it up at our first meeting after the incident, we were still angry and she was still defiant. What she had really meant to say was that she was sorry she got slapped on the wrist by our board of directors. She was not sorry in the least for what she had done or the fact that we were all cleaning up the public relations nightmare in its wake. It was an insincere apology from an insincere leader.
Insincere leadership means your actions don’t match your words and your words don’t match your intentions. You say one thing to one team member and the complete opposite to someone else. You ask a question not really wanting an answer.
Sincere leadership means leading with integrity. Your leadership is marked by honesty, trustworthiness, and upholding your values and principles. Your strong character shines through in your relationships with those you lead.
If you want to stand out as a leader, if you want to lead with excellence, lead with integrity and sincerity. Do what you say you will do. Say what you mean to say. Your example will encourage those you lead to do the same.
*A great read on this subject is Integrity: the Courage to Meet the Demands of Reality by Dr. Henry Cloud.
Who is the most sincere leader you know? What have you learned from their example?