In the spring of 2017, Kim Obbink and I co-authored a book called, How (Not) to Be a Leader Volume 1, the first in a series of hilarious “how–not–to guides” for new leaders looking to avoid common pitfalls of leadership. This book will help leaders understand what they can do to be better leaders by first understanding what not to do. I am excited to share the next two books, How NOT to Build a Great Team and How NOT to Create a Winning Strategy, have been written and will be published this fall. To celebrate the upcoming books we will be serializing and giving away a chapter each week from the first book via my blog. This week we are hoping you will enjoy Chapter 1 – Flaunt Your Wealth, You’ve Earned It!
Sent: Sunday, July 9 at 2:31 am
To: ALL STAFF
Subject: I was robbed! In late tomorrow.
I can’t believe that some THUG had the audacity to reach down through my sunroof and steal my things right out of my car! My Tiffany bag was on top of my Armani suit bag and they took everything! I’m unbelievably devastated. Need to file a police report first thing in the morning. Thank God for Lloyds of London.
Do not underestimate the power of perception. It’s important that as a leader you portray yourself in a light that others not only look up to but aspire to. Wealth, particularly material wealth, is a symbol of success, so be sure to take every opportunity you can to display your wealth. This will be proof to others that, if they simply work as hard as you do, and are as smart as you are, they too can also (someday maybe) have the things that you have. It’s a stretch, but let them dream.
Let’s start with how you look and how you dress. All aspects of your appearance should be attended to weekly. This not only indicates that you have the money to do this but that you also have the time. Your subordinates will feel honored that their hard work allows you to take good care of yourself, so be sure to mention your weekly self‑care appointments and always make these appointments a priority over all else.
When assembling your office wardrobe, there is one rule of thumb: brands, big brands. Dressing in brands that are normally reserved for Hollywood’s rich and famous will quickly set you worlds apart from your staff. This is just the start in making your personal lifestyle both aspirational and mysterious. A general rule of thumb is to wear $3,000 to $5,000 top to bottom every day (not including accessories). This means high‑end name brands only, not department store garbage. And of course, for that special meeting with the venture‑capital crew of the opposite sex, nothing says power like classic black with a big red statement. Diamonds on your ears or cuffs, not on your finger please, because when you need money, you need to look available!
Now, on to your residential status. You absolutely must live in the most affluent zip code in your city. Your home should be very large. These points are non-negotiable for a leader for many reasons, the first and most important of which is that you need a suitable place to hold all company parties. Holding company events at your home is a sure‑fire way to keep the appropriate distance from your staff. Again, your job is to be a role model of material success. Only you can create this persona, so do it well and do your best to overdo it! Really, if you go big here, you can’t go wrong.
If you have children, make sure that it appears as if they are well cared for by someone other than you. This will ensure that others see you as someone who is simply too important and busy for day‑to‑day matters. In fact, doing this makes you look like a master of outsourcing. But of course, have the requisite children to make it look like you actually care about something other than yourself. Make sure your home staff is present and scurrying about during any company event and that they address you as Ms./Mr., not by your first name (if only your company staff would do this!). Also make sure that your company events are catered by only the best, that there are fresh flowers in every room, and that (for that extra zinger) you have hired a valet to park your company staffs’ Hyundais far, far away. Remember: your primary home is a showpiece for your staff and your business colleagues, your vacation homes are for you.
Lastly, let’s discuss your car. Eighty thousand is the minimum you should expend on this extremely important investment. And make no mistake, it’s an investment. Nothing screams success like a top‑of‑the‑line Mercedes (no more than two years old and leased so you can upgrade regularly). It’s not just a three‑pointed‑star logo, it’s a symbol of innovation, performance, and design. Just. Like. You. And don’t forget to have an assigned parking space with your name or title on it. Your investment needs a spot of its own, and you need to show everyone how it’s done!
Wear it, live in it, drive it, baby! If you follow these simple guidelines, you’ll not only be a great leader, you’ll look and act like one too.
Let’s Get Real
Please. Be humble. Flaunting your wealth will alienate you from your staff. Make no mistake, they may ooh and ahh at your fancy digs, but they will secretly and absolutely hate you and see you as nothing more than a haughty snob. The greatest leaders of all time have been those who care passionately and genuinely about the well‑being of the people they employ. If you only care about your personal gain, please go do something else that doesn’t include employing people. You’re making it too hard for those who actually care.
Leadership is not about what you have, it’s about what you do. The more emphasis you place on things, the less your employees will care about you and what your company is trying to do. They want to work for a company whose mission is bigger than making you rich. If it’s all about making you rich, they will either decide to leave or they will make sure you don’t stay rich.