What’s the connection between Leadership and Metaphysics?

We’ve all heard the philosophical question – If a tree falls in the forest and there’s no-one there to see it, does it make a sound?  This was first posed in 1710, and has remained a subject of debate ever since – the possibility of unperceived existance.

“The objects of sense exist only when they are perceived; the trees therefore are in the garden… no longer than while there is somebody by to perceive them.” – George Berkely, Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge (1710)

So how does the possibility of unperceived existance apply to leadership?

Well, most B-Suite Leaders that I work with avoid self promotion like the plague.  And I get it, I really do.  There are plenty of examples of leaders who are so good at self promotion that their perceived performance camouflages their lack of actual performance.  And most B-Suite leaders truly hate those types!  BUT you need to swallow your pride and take a leaf out of their book.

If you wait for your work to speak for itself, you are the tree falling in the forest.  With no-one there to hear you, philosophers and physicists concur, no sound is perceived.  No-one notices.  So how do you make them notice?

Your work will not speak for itself, and your reputation can’t afford to wait that long anyway.  So project your value while you prove your value.

Managing your reputation is a means to ensure your PERCEIVED performance (your reputation) matches up with your ACTUAL performance (your results).  

Without perceived performance, you may as well not be performing at all.  

Don’t let your leadership be an unperceived existance.  A visible leader is a valuable leader.


Rebecca is Australia’s pre-eminent advocate for B-suite leadership – the expert in developing hi-impact B-Suite leadership at both a team and individual level.

Speak to Rebecca about:

  • Individual and group coaching
  • Team effectiveness and training
  • People & Culture Advisory

You can reach her on rebecca.houghton@boldhr.com.au

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