A few weeks ago, someone asked me to help them out at very short notice. A leadership expert* who was supposed to be delivering a masterclass had failed to turn up – by chance, I was in the location it was to be held – so the supplier asked me if I’d stand in. They offered me money. I said yes.
Slatternliness sometimes has its rewards and in my bag I found a memory stick with a couple of presentations on it. There was just one other minor problem – my clothing. Having a day off I was wearing my dog walking clothes, including my favourite shirt, bought in 1982. Here is the offending garment:
I turned up at the venue, and the organizing lady mentioned she’d previously seen one of the presentations I had with me. ‘Would it be ok to air it again, here, instead of the leadership masterclass?’ I asked. She said yes. It was about passion, rather than leadership.
(For what it’s worth here’s my take on leadership:
-effective behaviour is very often sector specific
-the great majority of people need to be great managers rather than leaders
-leaders need drive (courage and energy) above all else. This is innate and they may have been lucky enough to be in environments where it was identified, developed and appreciated
-much talk and teaching on leadership is corporate showbiz. But hey, we all need a laugh)
Anyway, back to the masterclass.
I decided to be absolutely open and honest about the circumstances. My baggy trousers left me no choice. A couple of people looked disgruntled and disengaged: a lot more asked questions and came to talk to me individually. I talked a bit about the pre-Olympics work I did, which seems to mildly interest lots of people.
Afterwards the organizing lady contacted the supplier and was not happy. She said people hadn’t liked it, but she was unable to be more specific than that. She cited this negative response as a reason for cancelling further work with the supplier.
Which has left me in something of a quandry…I’ve asked her directly for more detailed feedback but had no reply. Possibly I was awful or at least quite unsuitable – I did my best in the circumstances.
Friends have said they’d never have turned up themselves dressed as I did. But you know what? If it happened again tomorrow, I’d still say ‘yes’.
What do you reckon..am I bonkers or what? And if you were there: please, what was your take on it?
* I suspect first rule of being a ‘leadership expert’ may be turning up. Funnily enough, he’s not been in touch.