As far as I know, last Saturday night was the first time that a drone has been taking pictures anywhere near me. Perhaps I should explain. John and I were at the Wahoos’ game and the fireworks display was being filmed by Tower Drones. And, even though there was an amazing demonstration of fire, light and smoke in the sky overhead, I could not take my eyes off of the drone. It had green and red lights and moved in the sky as if it were directing its own course. I knew that there was a pilot on the ground and I knew that the camera was focused on the fireworks, but it made me really uncomfortable. There was no “off” button that I could push, or an “eject” switch to turn; I had no control over that object in the sky. In reality, the drone darted back and forth, changing altitude and position paying no attention to me.
What a silly situation – I was intimidated by a little flying camera. Have you been there? Have you felt that your space, your privacy has been invaded without your permission and perhaps without even your knowledge?
Being a leader means that your life is open to others in a way that non-leaders never know. That reality is more challenging because we all have areas of our lives that we would prefer others to not see, to not know. If you plan to lead, you need to understand that no matter what you desire – people will be interested in your life and they will talk about what they know about you and what they do not know about you.
My advice – be as open as you can be. Share (that means you both talk and listen) with others about your interests outside of work. Join in on the Monday morning conversation about the activities of the past weekend and the Friday afternoon discussion on upcoming plans. Let your personal work space provide little insights into what people and activities are important to you. And, make sure that your behaviors, language and attitudes are the same at work as they are at home.
I can almost hear you say, “Why does anyone have a right to know about my personal life?” People are smarter than we think; they already know a lot about you. For the things that they do not know, why don’t you lead them to the right image rather than let their imaginations run wild? A colleague once told me that I was rarely the target of silly rumors because all around me knew that I love my husband and family. Rumors couldn’t start because they had heard me tell them the truth. I have thought about my colleague’s comment many, many times. By sharing a little about my personal life, I had protected my work reputation. It gave me reason to think about more ways that I could share my life and to shape future discussions of home and family.
The Apostle Paul was a great role model. “For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience that we behaved in the world with simplicity and godly sincerely, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God.” (2 Corinthians 1:12)
There will be observers (and, maybe even a drone or two) in our future. Let’s give them good things to talk about!
(By the way, want to see the Tower Drones’ video of fireworks at the Wahoos’ game? On Facebook, check out The Pensacola Blue Wahoos’ page or the Tower Drones’ page. You will also find the link on my Facebook page.)