As a former advertiser, I love a good commercial. One of the more popular ones currently playing is from Geico. The commercial features Pinocchio as a motivational speaker. If you haven’t managed to see this one, you can catch it on YouTube. I think they got Pinocchio spot on – the look, the voice, everything.
This commercial is funny, but the more I watch it, the sadder it appears. Watch it again, this time focusing on the man Pinocchio speaks to. This poor guy has come to a motivational seminar looking for validation of his self-worth.
As Pinocchio proclaims the presence of “potential” in the room, the man begins to feel a rising sense of purpose. When Pinocchio points him out specifically, saying “You have potential,” the man’s face breaks into a huge grin.
Then Pinocchio’s nose begins to grow.
In an instant, our friend in the audience has his confidence shattered. His face falls as he realizes Pinocchio doesn’t see value in him at all. And because the authority in the room sees no potential in him, he adopts the same belief.
Words are powerful. You’ve heard that “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” The words of a leader, however, carry more weight than the average person’s. Those in charge have the power to make someone’s day – or ruin it – with just a few words.
Even more important than the words a leader says is the belief behind them. Sometimes the right words are said, but they’re not meant. A compliment, delivered insincerely, is the worst kind of insult.
You see, as a leader; you are always leading – either building people up or tearing them down. People need leadership. Every single one of us needs someone to point out the goal, provide direction, and give feedback. And we all follow the example of the leader. Whatever feelings we derive from our interaction with them, we pass on to others -coworkers, customers, even family members.
Leadership is a noble calling. But it is not something to be taken lightly. What kind of leadership are you providing? How do people feel after a typical interaction with you? How does your leadership impact the service your team provides to others?