Episode Focus: In this episode, we look at, given the choice, whether we would go through the ‘average leader’ door or the ‘great leader’ door.
- There has been a change to the iOS app for Voices of Canadian Leadership podcast – details will be given after the main article.
- Don’t forget about the iTunes contest – listen to the end of the podcast for details!
VOCL Main Feature
I came across the following link this week – it’s a YouTube video by Dove (the soap company) called ‘Choose Beautiful’. The words “Beautiful” and “Average” are placed in big bold letters above two doors leading into various shopping centres – you had to go through one of the two doors (one person chose not to). This was done in various cities – San Francisco, Shanghai, Delhi, London and Sao Paulo – show global perspective (and perhaps) allow for cultural differences in both perception of beauty and even walking patterns (North Americans would likely tend to walk through the average door since it was on the right).
Something to consider as you watch – the clip is 3:40 in length, and most likely heavily edited to help tell the story. Nevertheless, a powerful video – it discusses the perceptions that women have about themselves. I’m aware of projection bias – how I perceive what they are thinking is not necessarily what they are thinking.
- The part that bothered me – watching the reactions of the women as they ponder the choice before them, and their feedback about what they felt like after going through the “average door.”
- The part that scared me – at 0:00:45, a girl is walking with her parents towards the average door. She breaks away at the last second towards the beautiful door but then hesitates as she looks toward them for approval.
- My favourite piece – a mom and her daughter are about to walk through the doors; they are walking together and laughing. The daughter is angling towards the average door, but the mom yanks her towards the beautiful door in a fashion that said ‘you are beautiful – you are coming through these doors with me’. The best part was the daughter’s triumphant hair flip as she went through the door.
For me, the ad is not about beauty per se, but rather about how we perceive ourselves. Imagine if you had to go through doors that forced you to choose between average and ‘gifted’ or ‘smart’. Imagine if you had to go through doors that were labelled ‘average leader’ and ‘great leader.’ Which door would you choose?
Choosing the ‘Average Leader’ Door
Leaders can have doubts about their abilities. Some days, we could find ourselves walking through the average door. But like those women, we would not feel good about ourselves. If we do choose the average door, what can we do to ensure that we feel more confident about our leadership abilities? What will it take to get ourselves through the ‘great leader’ door? Do we need more education? Do we need outside assistance? If so, mentorship or coaching may be for you (VOCL has featured several leadership coaches as well as Bluenose Leadership Solutions). Do we simply require more practice? If so, most community groups are eagerly awaiting your participation and your leadership.
Choosing the ‘Great Leader’ Door
If we choose the ‘great leader’ door – congratulations! The world needs confident leaders who believe in their abilities. We need to ensure that our thoughts and actions are consistent with those of great leadership, lest we start drifting towards the ‘average leader’ door. Yet, that is not enough. Much like the mother who dragged her daughter to the ‘beautiful’ door, are we helping other people go through the ‘great leader’ door? Are we mentoring or coaching people to bring out the best of their abilities? Are we helping them truly understand their potential?
Regardless of your choice, I look forward to seeing you on the other side of the ‘great leader’ door.
Note as a parent – my daughter, early in her teens, pointed out to me that Dove and Axe are owned by parent company Unilever. It’s interesting to see just how different the message can be (she showed me a rather sexist advertisement by Axe), which got me thinking about how leaders need to be consistent in their actions and in their messaging, but that is content for another post. Regardless, it’s very interesting to see how my daughter is becoming socially aware and able to critically analyze the messages that come her way!
VOCL Closing Thoughts / Future Episodes
What’s been happening:
- Went to the Canadian Ringette Championships – it was an awesome week of ringette. I got to work on 8x U16 games (including a bronze medal game), 2x U19, and 3x National Ringette League games. I got to work with shot clock operators and referees from across the country. It was great to share best practices at a peer level and I’m looking forward to incorporating these at home in Nova Scotia.
- Travel is something that I haven’t enjoyed as much – quite a few delays and outright cancellations. It’s amazing what we take for granted – does taking things for granted apply to our leadership?
Takeaways and introspection:
This upcoming week, I want you to be conscious about your leadership choices. Are the actions that you are taking lining you up for the ‘average’ door, or the ‘great’ door? Are your thoughts lining you up for the ‘average’ door or the ‘great’ door? If they are edging towards ‘average,’ how do you need to re-frame or change the circumstances such that you become focused on ‘great’?