Holding a ball in one hand in front of you illustrates the common fact that two or more sides of the truth can exist without negating other truths. This boils down to perception; and managing the perception of the other viewers.

My co-lead in the project was getting some reputation flak for his leadership style. When we talked about it he raised a good question: “I used the same tone and method you used a few days ago when you addressed the team. What makes my delivery different (and unacceptable)?”

It was good question because I agree that our leadership styles have a lot of similarities. How come one can get away with using that style while other people have a negative reaction? Is it the context/personality of the person using the style and the preconceived notion of the audience about the person that makes a difference? This makes me think of the social experiment wherein random people were made to taste cakes. In one experiment there was a tag price in front of the cake where the slice came from and one is expensive while the other is affordable. In one variation there are no price tags but one of the cakes were placed in a plain platter while one was in an ornately gilded tray. A lot of the people said they preferred the more expensive cake (or the one in the more expensive looking tray) better stating that it is finer and has a more chocolaty taste. The catch is that all cakes used in the social experiment were IDENTICAL.

Presentation and context may be the critical factor in play here.