While sitting on a coffee shop patio, sipping my latte, I spot a young couple walking up the sidewalk toward me. They are smiling and chatting as if the world around them is standing still and only the two of them exist. As they get closer, I see their big smiles. I also see their shirts. Now I'm smiling. Their shirts are beautiful in their simplicity. His says, "She rocks! I'm with her." Complete with the pointing finger. Her shirt says, "He's the bomb! I'm with him." Requisite pointing finger in place. The pleasantry head nod transpires between us as they pass. Then my smile widens. I see the back of their shirts. "Who's wearing your shirt?”
Opportunities To Examine Our Leadership Abound
A simple, yet profound question when considered from a leadership context. "Who's wearing your shirt?" When you, your character or your integrity is called into question, who will step forward on your behalf. Who’s wearing your shirt? Who will stand in your honor to tell the world who you are at your core, without being asked? Who will share what you do and who you are, when there are no "Likes" to be gained? When there are no “hearts” to be had, who will show you love?
The young men and women of Tulane and some of their parents have made an error in their rush to judgment around having Hoda Kotb as their Commencement Speaker. Their petition was unwise, and I trust they will do their due diligence next time. Equally, I hope they garner the lesson available by reading this note from Karen Swenson. In it, you will find a lesson on leadership that could arguably be a class. It is a gleaming example of how to live your life, so others will wear your shirt. Karen’s shirt-wearing is a sparkling testament to how Hoda lives her life when there are no cameras to see, no wine to be sipped or spotlight to be shared.
One question. As a leader, “Who’s wearing your shirt?”
For all you do Hoda, "Thank You!"