I don’t watch much TV. I have a few guilty pleasures, but mostly I view CNN when I’m working out in the morning.
Today I saw a world leader talk about all that had happened under his charge and then indirectly take credit for dealing with it all successfully. It was quite a list. He didn’t offer specifics or any tangible results.
That’s bad TV. And that’s bad leadership.
Good leaders talk about what happened, what they and their team did, and the results achieved (the more specific the better). They take responsibility for the good and the bad and they share credit for success. They realize that most people are skeptical of any leader who claims victory without proof.
I saw two commercials. One was for a bank and featured lots of green bicycles. It talked about relationships and being rewarded. So I’m wondering: if I do my banking there will I get a green bike? The commercial doesn’t explain, it hints.
That’s bad advertising. And bad leadership.
Leaders don’t have to be clairvoyant or even charismatic but they must always be clear. Good leaders don’t leave people wondering what they meant.
Another commercial was so bad it might be considered good. It was a pain relief ointment that shows the world’s worst actor pretending to “hurt.” “Ouch!” he screams as he doubles over in pain. The commercial is painful, but it gets your attention.
Bad TV. And risky for leader.
While corny may make you memorable, it won’t make you credible. Unless you’re selling ointment, choose believable over bombastic. Credibility takes months and years to build but only seconds to destroy.
And that’s what we can learn about leadership from bad TV.