Successful leaders are seen as approachable and easy to talk to. They share more information and get more in return. They disclose some things about themselves because it is hard for people to relate to an enigma. They inspire trust and confidence because people know more about them. So what do you share and where do you draw the line?
I think you can share information about yourself, who you are, your personal history, interests and leadership point of view. Your role in the organization and your comfort level with the amount of information you share will need to be your guide. Talking about challenges you have faced and how you have overcome them can be particularly helpful in encouraging others to persevere in their own difficult circumstances.
Where do you draw the line? You cannot share information about other people, including your family, without their permission. You should never share anything that would be seen as destructive to the reputation of your organization, its leaders and staff, including yourself.
Get To Know You Questions
If you are not used to sharing information about yourself, here are some fun questions you can answer and share and encourage your leadership team to do the same. They come from James Lipton, host of Inside the Actors Studio. So you can get to know me better, I have added my answers:
What is your favourite word? Stupendous.
What is your least favourite word? Booty (not the pirate kind).
What sound or noise do you love? Mozart in a church in Prague.
What sound or noise do you hate? Someone shouting in anger.
What is your favourite curse word? Bloody hell (said softly, of course).
What song/band/music you would risk wreck and injury to turn off when it comes on the radio?
Anything heavy metal -- feels like fingernails on a blackboard.
What is your favourite TV show? Mad Men, especially the episode of Zou Bisou Bisou with Jessica Pare
What is your favourite movie? Anything with Meryl Streep in it. Lately, the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, both versions with Noomi Rapace and Rooney Mara.
What is the best concert you have been to? Leonard Cohen at the National Arts Centre several years ago as part of his world tour.
If you could have anything put on your t-shirt, what would it be? Tell me more.
What is your favourite meal? My husband's rotisserie chicken on the barbecue, fresh corn-on-the-cob and fresh heirloom tomatoes with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and basil -- and a good Pinot Noir to go with it.
What talent do you wish you had? To be able to sing.
Your dream vacation? An all-expenses-paid, personalized guided tour of the top wine regions of the world, one by one. It would take years.
What is on your nightstand? A lamp; a Chinese lacquer box containing reading glasses, hand lotion and the latest reading recommendations from the Globe and Mail; a kindle reader with many, many detective and mystery stories; and a picture of my husband.
Tell us something about you that would surprise us? I am a certified sommelier. I love thunderstorms, as long as I am not out in the open or on water, and I am terrified of bats.
To conclude, Brene Brown tells us in her blog, Ordinary Courage (see sidebar):
"When we spend our lives waiting until we’re perfect or bulletproof before we walk into the arena we ultimately sacrifice relationships and opportunities that may not be recoverable, we squander our precious time, and we turn our backs on our gifts, those unique contributions that only we can make."