The myth is debunked: they CAN see you in the balcony

First in a series of the “rules of leadership have changed.”Balcony with child looking in

For anyone who has ever attended a church where there is a balcony, you know the myth. Usually it’s teenagers who believe it most strongly – but it can be anyone. What’s the myth? When I’m up here, people can’t see me.

I sat in a church service last night – the sanctuary was full of preachers. It’s the annual Brite Divinity School Ministers week. I was in the balcony because Paul was recording. Down the row from me was a group of young people. Recently minted ministers, I suppose. They believed in the myth. They thought they were invisible. At least they acted as though they were invisible. Unfortunate. Their coats hung on the balcony rail, there was chatting and a more than usual tendency to get up and walk around.  They failed to notice how often they drew attention to themselves…because they were ‘invisible.’

And I began to ponder – what are those times when I think I’M invisible? It certainly isn’t when I’m blogging, or tweeting or posting on Facebook. Visibility, in this age of over–information, is ubiquitous. As leaders, consultants, coaches, teachers, parents and all those other things we are – we are visible.

The rules have changed for leaders. Marshall Goldsmith got it right when he titled his book “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There.” He was talking mostly about behaviors – moving from being an individual contributor to being a leader, manager or executive. I would take it a step further and say that statement applies our perception of what a leader should be.  And that’s because the world we are leading in has changed so radically.

So the first rule of leadership that has changed is the rule of visibility. The best approach is to believe, “I can ALWAYS be seen.” We will spend more time on the changing rules of leadership and how to be effective in this new world. Come along for the ride, it should be fun. In fact, feel free to join the conversation – guaranteed it will change!