Scarce, Excess or Optimal – The Role of ‘Hype’ in Leadership

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Although most of the people engaged in leadership positions will refuse to admit it, one of the truths of leading is that you, as a leader, will utilize hype in some kind or manner. While some might contemplate hype as being an incorrect activity, it depends on the magnitude and degree of the activity and the underlying motivation. Is this being performed to build up some unjust program, activity, concept, or idea, or is it instead used as a component of efficiently inspiring others towards getting more involved, caring more, and doing more about something that would make a notable difference? There are three possible manifestations or types of hype: 

  1. scarce; 
  2. excess; and, 
  3. optimal
  • Scarce: Unfortunately, or fortunately, unless hype is used to some degree, others fail to pay enough attention and listen. Because it is natural upon true leaders to inspire followers, constituents, or other potential stakeholders, to do more and care, there is usually a need to draw them in, in some sort of bigger-than-life manner. When someone denies using any of these kinds of behaviors, regardless of how excellent or significant his/her ideas may be, the reality is that if not sufficient individuals get involved or pay attention, most plans will fail to have the coveted impact.
  • Excess: Those who follow either politics or leadership have perhaps noted that we often observe those running for a position to tender promises and practice lots of empty rhetoric. Unfortunately, these politicians rarely rise to actual legislators, and therefore, those involved as constituents, etc., ultimately stop listening and indeed fail to care or even pay any attention to those in leadership positions. Empty rhetoric usually fails to satisfy in the long – term, and possibly one of the principal reasons that so few believe or trust those that lead is that it is such a rare event for significant accomplishments to take place.
  • Optimal: If we come away from this analysis with only one fundamental concept, it should be that there must be a symmetry between enough hyping to gain and motivate listeners, but that is accompanied by a well-considered action plan that transforms the otherwise empty rhetoric into valuable action, as well as a pledge to develop and train future leaders.

If you want to lead, you must start by committing and realizing to looking at the longer-term picture (and needs) and what presently needs to be addressed. Only when our inclination to hype becomes a balanced one is it just right and do what needs to get accomplished.

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