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The Dark Side of Being a Leader

Written by Antoni Lacinai

Leadership is influence and influence is power… Power to change, to improve, to get support and actions from people who want to follow you.

When you succeed, you feel good! But – be careful. Be aware of the sweet, seductive, addictive taste of influence and power. The dark side of the moon is that you risk becoming an asshole…

You start taking your status and power for granted – and you want more. You want the fruit basket even if your employees won’t get it. You book a business class seat on the plane while your employees wander back to coach. You complain that the windows in your office are dirty, while your people sit in a crowded landscape…

But hey, you earned it, didn’t you? Well, perhaps you did. Perhaps you once cared. And perhaps you then lost touch with your followers that crowned you their leader. Soon enough people start to gossip about you, and not in a nice way. You lose your fan base. First gradually. Then suddenly – as the saying goes. Soon enough you are no longer influential. Your power is gone. You fall off the throne…

Communication between people is like electricity is in a modern society. Without it we die. But you don’t want to die. You want to grow. You want to prosper. You want to be a world class leader. But then you need to be a world class communicator. Great leadership with great influence demand great communication.

Over the course of 25 years I have gathered no less than 20 lessons, principles, success factors, truths of communication. So how can you get to know and master those simple, yet powerful secrets of human communication?  You start by being aware of the three secret superpowers of communication. If you want me to follow you, you want to communicate with Energy, Empathy and Clarity.

Energy, so that I believe that you believe. Because why should I if you don’t? Energy is mostly visible in your body language and in your voice. I want to follow you if you show me your passion, your inner glow and your determination to move towards a higher purpose.

The second superpower is Empathy. Empathy so that I feel that you are truly trying to understand me. So that I feel that you get me, that you know where I’m coming from and what I think and feel. This creates trust. And the more I trust you, the more I want to follow you.

The third superpower is Clarity, so that you take away as many misunderstandings as possible. If you are clear and help me see what you see, you will make me feel smart, and anyone who makes me feel smart, I will follow.

Which one is your superpower? Energy? Empathy? Clarity? All three? None of the above?

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