If you try to be the “perfect” leader in front of your employees, chances are they’re going to find you boring, unrelatable, unpleasable, unapproachable, and maybe even unlikeable. They’ll see you as the original Superman, and that’s not necessarily a compliment.
Because after ten years of publication, Superman started to get incredibly boring.
The DC superhero first graced the comic book scene in 1938 thanks to writer Joe Siegel and artist Joe Shuster. At first, he was a hit. He had superhuman strength, superhuman speed, superhuman leaping abilities, and an indestructible body. In 1939, he began using X-ray vision and superhuman hearing. In 1940, Superman began to fly and had a superhuman ability to control his breath.
As amazing as those powers were, a problem occurred. He was too perfect. Nothing could stop him. Not water. Not fire. Not bullets. Without exposed vulnerabilities or weaknesses, he became… Boring. He became harder to root for. He became less likable.
It wasn’t until 1949 that kryptonite, a resource from Superman’s home planet, was introduced to the comic books. Kryptonite makes Superman vulnerable and nullifies his superpowers when he’s exposed. Suddenly, with a chink in his armor and weakness in his story, he became more interesting and likable again. He became relatable.
Let that be a lesson to leaders: You do not need to be perfect, and a need to be perfect might be your downfall if you’re not aware of it. Nobody is asking you to be perfect or have all the answers all the time. Be honest and open about your weaknesses. Admit when you don’t know something. Seek help from your employees when you need assistance to let them feel useful and valuable.
They will more likely find you relatable and likable for exposing just a little bit of your vulnerability.
They will more likely see you as a modern-day Superman.