It’s not every day I meet an alligator in a building lobby – that gets your attention! I recently had an opportunity to facilitate a team building session at a client site in alligator country. This alligator was stuffed and buffed so you could see every bony plate. My Google search told me these plates are what make the alligator’s skin very hard to penetrate.
We humans have a similar armor. In Dare to Lead Brene’ Brown lists 16 examples of armored leadership and 16 daring leadership responses. One of those armored leadership examples is hiding behind cynicism. We see this in people who aren’t brave enough to say what they really mean or those who need to put someone else down so they can feel better about themselves.
Effective leaders don’t tolerate this behavior on their teams and they model the appropriate response — being clear and kind. The challenge for the cynic is identifying and dealing with their underlying anger or fear of inadequacy so they can say what they mean and mean what they say.