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Good Leader: Let Them See You Sweat

Never let them see you sweat…

Or, so they say…

Apparently the phrase, “Never let them see you sweat” came from a 1984 Gillette company deodorant commercial. I looked it up so I could give proper credit in this post.

It’s a great phrase. When I was younger, it was a popular cultural saying in some circles. The idea was used for much more than a deodorant. If you want to really be a man…never let them see you sweat. If you want to display courage…never let them see you sweat. If you want to lead well…never let them see you sweat.

Sadly, that phrase or mindset has carried over to some schools of leadership today. Many leaders are afraid to be discovered for their inefficiencies and shortcomings.

Here’s the bottom line with leading well today:

You better let them see you sweat!

Leadership today is more about being real with people. It’s admitting failure. It’s being transparent about weaknesses. It’s not covering up flaws…it’s exposing them so others can learn from them. It’s being willing to say, “I don’t know how” or “That’s not my area of expertise.” It’s even a willingness to say, “I’m afraid” or “I need help with this one”.

Here’s my advice: Wear your deodorant for underarm protection, but when it comes to authentic leadership, it’s all about the sweat! Let me be clear. I’m not suggesting you don’t try your hardest, you don’t put your best foot forward, or that you constantly complain about not being able to keep up. People want to follow confident, capable leaders. I am suggesting you don’t try to be someone you are not and be honest about who you really are. Learning the difference is part of being a good leader these days.

What are some ways you know a leader is authentic these days?