The White House

Our highly visible President . . .

Dave Kinnear1-On Leadership, 3-LI

I’ve been listening to the talking heads on the news (I don’t watch TV much any more, I download Pod-Casts of selected news broadcasts and listen on my schedule). One of my favorite political commentators is George Will. He’s been complaining lately that our President is way too visible. He’s tired of seeing him – everywhere.

Now, forget your politics for the moment. It’s not important whether or not you voted for this particular President, or whether or not you agree with his policies. I want to think about how we, as leaders, communicate in this modern age. If we have a message to get across, can we really have too much exposure? Aren’t we all trying to figure out how we can use modern media to get to our target audience? Can the President of our country really be too visible and if so, under what circumstances?

I’m sure this is a personal thing too – beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I suspect if you don’t agree with this President and/or his policies, then you would just as soon not see him so much. It reminds you of what you don’t like. On the other hand, if you do like this President and/or his policies, then you might well think he can’t possibly over communicate.

I’ve experienced this phenomenon myself while leading change initiatives in corporations. Those that were out in front and accepting of the changes being implemented wanted me to be more visible and communicating the vision for the changed organization. Those who were fighting the change were visibly uncomfortable around me or team members who were pushing the change forward. Or course, in my case the communication was mainly memorandums, e-mails, and many, many meetings.

As leaders and change agents, can we over communicate? Can we be too visible? Where’s the balance in your mind? Are you using all the Social Networking Media? How do you make sure we are effectively using all the tools at hand to get the message out?