Oct 28

Yes, And..

There was quite a bit of hubbub on LinkedIn this past weekend after someone posted a Harvard Business Review article from 2018.

As you’ll see, the author’s alliterative headline calls out the four essential attributes every leader MUST possess.

For those of you without the time to read the article, I will share his 4C’s of leadership.

They are:

– Confident

– Connected

– Committed

– Courageous.

It’s difficult to take exception to any of the C’s, but I would argue those attributes have ALWAYS been essential to any leader in recorded history. 

Can you imagine Alexander the Great, Caesar, Napoleon or any of the great Feminist and Civil Rights leaders of the past achieving the success they attained without exuding the 4C’s in abundance?

In the interests of fairness, the HBR column was written prior to the pandemic and the rise of #BLM, DEI, BIPOC and heightened sensitivities in the workplace.

In light of the time-lapse when I look at the 4C’s, I think, “Yes, and…” which is a prompt that begins one of many different forms of improvisational comedy.

My Yes, and… is to add self-deprecating humor alongside the 4C’s (and to hell with alliteration).😎

Empathy, authenticity and vulnerability are suddenly acceptable (if not cherished) terms in the virtual and physical hallways of Corporate America. 

And in my opinion, we’re already seeing the rise of self-deprecating leaders who are replacing predecessors who placed profits over people and believed demonstrating ANY sign of vulnerability implied weakness.

Here’s the good news: Self-deprecating humor can be learned over time (if a leader is open to change and willing to laugh at her/his faults). 

And a certain firm I know is working with quite a few top organizations as we speak. Each has different wants and needs. But each has a leader who is self-aware enough to be self-deprecating in front of peers and direct reports.

As someone who has embraced his failures and foibles and willingly shared them with my employees as well as audiences at many different stand-up venues, I can attest to the power of self-deprecating humor. 

Final piece of advice to leaders of every stripe: Stop taking yourself so seriously and start embracing (and sharing) your setbacks. 

Yes, and… you (and your direct reports) will be glad you did. 😎