Does Your Leadership Suffer from the Kim Kardashian Effect?

I am not a “reality tv” enthusiast. For those moments when I can escape for a few minutes in front of a television, I want to be entertained in a way that doesn’t involve a call-in vote from viewers. To be honest, I don’t know who is still “in the house” on CBS’ “Big Brother” or who the winning celebrity will be on ABC’s  “Dancing with the Stars”.

With that said, the past few days (72 to be exact), a particular reality-tv story has made the headlines not once but twice. We saw this young lady get married in a true Hollywood glitz style and a mere 72 days later, the headline of divorce filled the airwaves.

I don’t really know much about this Kardashian sibling. I do know she has celebrity parents and there is a reality show that follows her family; but beyond that I don’t really know much about her as a person.

What I have learned this past week is how media is questioning the motives behind her high-profile marriage and equally publicized divorce. Reporters want to know: was the marriage and divorce staged – or in other words, a mere publicity stunt?

I don’t know the answer to this question but I believe it raises an even more important one with anyone who fills a leadership role.

At the end of the day does your team trust your motives?  Not sure? Consider these three important truths to keep top of mind:

#1 No one on your team can read your mind.
Your intent may be for the greater good for your team. You intent may be to help the team succeed.  But guess what – your team will judge that intent but what they see you do and hear you say. For Kardashian, no one knows whether her marriage are divorce were for true love or media notoriety. But viewers are simply piecing the facts together (her actions) to make a judgment on her intent.  Right or wrong, it’s how she will be judged.

#2 The relationship of time and performance are directly linked.
The more time you spend with your team the more opportunities you have to prove your performance with them.  Over time they will determine if you are the kind of leader who does what he says.  They will determine if you are leading them toward success. And they will determine if they trust you.  This equation works both ways too. Over time, with missed expectations, their conclusions will likely not be in your favor.  Time is on your side. Kardashian had 72 days. Use yours wisely.

#3 One on one interactions can’t be replaced.
Our third point is linked to the truths mentioned above. Not only does your team (collectively) need to see progress and interaction, but the individual team members as well. Personal interaction helps your team answer that important question – can I trust you? When trust is high, your motives are not questioned and that level of trust can only be developed one relationship at a time. For Kardashian, she will likely focus on those people closest to her to help them understand her perspective on the public rumor mill. And the public will probably hear from those speaking on her behalf soon. The public doesn’t really know her and will make their conclusions based on reasons #1 and #2 in our blog. You have the advantage – your team knows you.  Don’t miss that opportunity!

As we wrap up this week’s post, think about this last question. What if your actions for the past 72 days became a part of the media?  Would your team question a decision or action you made today because it differs so greatly from what they experienced 72 days ago?

I guess reality tv isn’t always all it’s cracked up to be. Aren’t you glad your reality lives within your workplace and not the headlines? Make your next 72 days count.

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