Adjusting Your Character Settings: The Authenticity of Leadership

If you are a member of Facebook, then you may be aware that the default privacy settings are being changed. I don’t lay awake at night worrying that someone is going to do something awful with the information that I post on Facebook, but I took the recommendation to adjust my settings so that only my “friends” can see my wall, photos and have access to any personal information on the site.

After I did this, I noticed that a friend had posted a link to directions for changing the settings. I was thankful to get the extra help because there was one setting that I had forgotten. But as I read down through the very long document, I was dismayed at the length some people will go to customize their privacy settings. I understand the need to protect your identity and all of that. But so much of this document alluded to adjusting settings to protect your image with certain people.

[wcm_restrict]For instance, it stated that if you didn’t want your mom to see your profanity riddled posts, then you could just easily turn off wall posts to your mom, but she could see your photos. Or if you don’t want certain people in your workplace to see the photos for you getting wild at the beach, then you can secure this one album so that only certain groups can see the pictures. This customization of privacy settings could eat up a whole evening. Who would have so much to hide that they would need to miss 30 Rock just being sure certain people were seeing the right (or wrong) side of them?

I suppose this bothered me even more because of the number of high profile cases lately where a celebrity/athlete/politician fell from their pedestal simply because he or she ended up being far different from the person the world thought they were. I stand not in judgment of these sorry souls, but am left wondering why they would ante up their marriages, family, friendships and livelihood for a shot at a secret lifestyle that could lead to their ruin. Can you really know anyone these days? Is anyone trustworthy and authentic?

The truth is, we as humans are so complex. As multifaceted individuals, there is a side of you that shows up when you are with your friends, and then there is the one that shines as a parent. There is even a side that pops up at work, but really nowhere else. The characteristic of being multifaceted reminds me a diamond’s surface. With a genuine stone, the surface is brilliant, radiating light as it is turned from side to side. But when the core of the stone is of poor quality or worse, a fake, then even the best cuts in the surface will make it look cheap, flat and dull. The only way to know for sure if what you’ve got is the real deal is to bring it to the light and expose to scrutiny. If life is lived in an authentic way, then the light is welcoming because if gives the opportunity to shine due to its genuine and pure nature. But for those that have so much to hide, those that make a habit of deception, this light exposes the truth about their integrity, authenticity and character.

In survey after survey about leadership, respondents list honesty, integrity and trustworthiness as the most important attributes for leaders. And whether you’re in the boardroom or the breakfast nook at home, your people- your employees, your family, and your friends- are going to expect that the person that is standing in front of them is the real deal. So what about you? Are you the reflecting the light of a high character and integrity, or is your light dulled due to frequent indiscretions and deceit. One of the best gifts you can give to your people this year is a thorough self-examination and a willingness to make tough changes if necessary. This is the year to step into the light… and shine![/wcm_restrict][wcm_nonmember]

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About the Author

Shelli Stinson is the VP of Business Development at WealthBridge Connect. She brings experience from education, sales and marketing as well as project management. Most recently, Shelli was the employee wellness manager at Northern Kentucky University. In this position, she learned how much influence that leadership has on the physical, emotional and mental wellness of employees in the workplace. After graduating from NKU with a Masters degree in Executive Leadership and Organizational Change, she joined WealthBridge Connect. In this new role, she hopes to influence businesses to invest in their employees through comprehensive leadership development initiatives, promoting healthier and more productive workplaces- from the top down and the inside out.

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