Dance With The Girl Who Brung
Leaders inspire trust when
they are genuine.
Many of you who know me, realize this is one of
my favorite sayings. It comes from Darrell Royal,
the Texas University Football Coach who led the
Longhorns to the National Collegiate Football title
Darrell grew up in Oklahoma as did my good friend
Don Beck and there are some really good stories
between the two of them.
Colloquialisms aside, the reason I wanted to
write about this topic is that so much of what you
see and hear today is about relativism. While I'm
the first one to ask about things like this when I
lead...I'm starting to realize that this may be a
Here's why we don't need to try to craft our
leadership to the crowd.
The most important thing in leadership is
probably trust. Of course, there are many more
essential things because trust fits the necessary
but not sufficient condition. Yet, trust is probably
going to be necessary.
What happens in relativistic situations is what
happened to John Kerry in the 2004 election race. He
was everything to everyone, so he wasn't enough to
anyone. In other words, he was what you wanted him
to be, but no one knew really where he stood on the
I was reading this article today about a person
who was asked to give a speech impromptu. They said
that even though the audience wasn't people they
normally talk to, so he just did what he really
knew..."he danced with the girl how brung him."
He said when he got through, that he got a
standing ovation and that afterwards he had a lot of
people want more information. He indicated that he
tried to customize his talk to this group, he would
not have known what to say because they were so
different than his normal clientele.
After reading it, I realized this had real
implications for leaders.
People can see through your relativism and your
attempts to customize your leadership to them. This
is in vogue now, with all the Emotional Intelligence
Jazz going round, and people aren't dancing with the
girls who brung them, they are just dancing with
everyone who asks them to dance.
While this may appear "advanced emotionally" it
takes you directly out of your strengths and into
playing games with your weaknesses. You'd be far
better off to be authentic and wrong, then
relativistic and mediocre in my view.
What really is key is knowing who you are.
Then it's a matter of saying yes to the right
issues and no to the one's that are out of your
As complex a world as it is today, it's
impossible to be all things to all people and trying
to be is going to cause people not to trust you.
Even if you're flat wrong, at least if people know
you're genuine, they are going to have trust in you.
"Dance with the girl who brung you."
time to reach my inner circle….
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