I was visiting my best friend Matt, and his young sons Alex and Owen were outside playing.
Owen came in and shut the glass door, leaving Alex accidentally locked outside.
When Alex looked through the glass, amused but pleading, I channeled “Nelson” from The Simpsons, pointed at him and fake-laughed “HA – ha!”
Owen looked at me weirdly, and Matt said “What are you doing? That’s not you.”
He’s right. I joke around a lot, but not usually in a mocking or sarcastic way, especially around those boys.
They were confused, and for a while, wary. What’s gotten into “Uncle” Alan?
In the same way, leaders need to show integrity by being consistent and predictable with behavior in their relationships.
New experimental policies, ways of joking around, or giving feedback can surprise and startle people.
Some leaders think changes like this will “keep people on their toes.”
What really happens is that it makes people wary and suspicious. Especially sarcasm.
With everything we do, make sure we’re being the right “you.”
Just did assimilate dumb thing at a leaders meeting. I was as shocked as everyone else and immediately made a sincere apology. But…the sarcastic words are out there and cannot be recalled. Good advice to heed always.