Saturday 12 June 2010


Leading people is no walk in the park. Leaders ultimately have a responsibility, to the people they are leading. It means one has to be honest and transparent and also, one has to listen and be approachable. And yes, one also has to be firm, and often, tough. As my one partner, Dave Frankel always reminds me, "Be tough minded, but not hard hearted."

When I was a student, many many many years ago, there was this show on TV called LA Law. They always used this cool sounding legal language, like "objection your honour" , "overruled" , "sustained" and my favourite "leading the witness". Now, the other day I observed a leader who was "leading the witness". Let me demonstrate with a quick example.

Imagine if I asked your opinion on this blog piece. Or, better still, imagine if someone else asked you. If they said "What do you think of this piece of text?" you will hopefully give your honest answer. Now there is no right or wrong here, it really is just your view. But if they asked you "Don't you think this is a great piece" or "Don't you think this is the biggest load of crap" then you will more likely go with the direction of the slant.

Leading people means really listening to them, but leading the witness, means manipulate. Asking people what they think versus leading them down a path with a loaded question, are two very different things.

In life, so often, it is not what you say, but rather, how you say it. The message and messenger; totally different things, but often the message is linked to the messenger due to loaded dice.

To all your leaders out there, lead with grace and integrity, because leading the witness is really not what true leadership is about.

Posted by Ronnie Apteker