Faux is defined by Merriam-Webster as “not real or genuine; not sincere.” The 75th anniversary of D-Day occurred this past week. It reminded me just how different many of today’s leaders are when compared with the principled leadership provided by Allied Commander General Dwight Eisenhower and others.
With all of the resources currently available, one would think our businesses and institutions should be thriving under a healthy leadership model. Instead we have far too many faux leaders, people only pretending to lead, whose personal ego and hidden agendas are what actually matters.
Spotting a faux leader actually isn’t that difficult. Here are some of their common behaviors.
- They are unprincipled. A faux leader tends to adopt positions and make decisions based on what is convenient, not on what is right. If caught in a lie, they deflect blame. If asked to take a stand, they look for ways to avoid accountability.
- They are inauthentic. The words and actions of these leaders never seem to align. They might promote a particular standard of behavior, yet never model it in their own life.
- They are insecure. Faux leaders lie and become defensive because they are often less confident and certain than their manner might indicate.
- They are often controlling. While not every faux leader is obsessed with power, many of them do crave authority and will even leverage the influence of others to get what they want.
- They are overly concerned with image. In a world where social media allows us to create a persona, real or imagined, a faux leader tends to worry about how others are seeing them. To satisfy this need to be liked, many will sacrifice their values and principles.
Where is today’s courageous, authentic, servant leader?
When a faux leader betrays values, compromises principles, or deflects blame everyone they serve will be impacted. Even worse, if this is the only leadership being modeled, the next generation of leaders may think and act in the same way.
There is some good news. Faux leadership can be changed. Leaders can learn how to be more self-aware, how to act with courage, how to speak the truth, even how to love those they serve. It’s not an easy journey but it is the path every leader should aspire to follow.
Photo Credit: istockphoto.com