Have you ever noticed that Batman's movies fare considerably better than Superman's? Part of that has to do with Christopher Nolan being a slightly better story teller than Bryan Singer or Zach Snyder, but part of it has to do with the fact that people like Batman more.
That seems weird to say, like it almost feels wrong to say out loud. Some people have a problem acknowledging it BUT it's true so it bears repeating: we like Batman more than they like Superman. The cliffnotes version of this post is: Audiences are smart. PEOPLE are smart. We know when someone is like us and we like that.
What is it that we like about Batman? There's something familiar that's seems oddly attainable about him. We like that he's got anger management issues, he's haunted by the ghosts of his past, how he never has a successful relationship and he's JUST a human being on a team filled with extraterrestrial royalty and mythological gods. WE are simple human being that will never be alien kings or queens and we have no place on Mount Olympus. So we think to ourselves, “hey, we could be Batman... if we had billions of dollars to spend on nifty gadgets and mobiles.” Really we're a lot closer to that than we are to Superman. He's the strongest and fastest, he has laser vision, X-Ray vision, he can freeze things with his breath and if he flies around the world fast enough he can reverse time! We will never be that, and thus have no ability to relate to Superman.
The thing is, really, we gravitate toward people that we can relate to; people that share a narrative with us. Now that isn't an elitist thing; that isn't our selfish desire to eliminate people from our lives that are different. It is, in fact, the basest of human conditions: we are scared, we want to feel comfortable, we want to feel like we aren't alone and believe it or not, we want to feel right in being who we are. We can't have those things when we are surrounded by Superwomen and Supermen that have no weaknesses.
Sure, on some level we would all like to believe that it's better to be so super that we are perfect and incapable of having flaws. The biggest problem is that perfection is, of course, unattainable. What we are left with instead is the burden of needing to be perfect, all the while knowing we will never achieve that “need.”
So those that we view as perfect just remind us of what we aren't. While the ones that try and lie about perfection--the ones we see through, they frustrate us because they're like us but act like they're better and that makes us feel like what we are isn't good enough.
As leaders, the problem multiplies. Because, as a leader, your ability to be relatable trumps your ability to act like you expect yourself and your constituents to be perfect. The most significant thing you will ever do as a leader is NOT creating a great vision or plan, it's not organizing the right people on the right seats on the right bus and it's not your ability to crush the competition. The greatest thing you can do to lead is to empower your team, not you, to succeed, and they will succeed when they feel comfortable enough having flaws, being weak and being imperfect.
The freedom to fail and learn and recover will lead your team out of their comfort zone, they will challenge for more than ever before. Show them you're not perfect and they will follow you, but if you show them that you're unwilling to acknowledge your own shortcomings because it's so important to you to be Superman, then they too will hide their flaws. In all likelihood, they'll stop trying hard enough to succeed for fear of disappointing you or feeling isolated in their failure.
Vision, communication and management are important things too, of course. The reason that you are a leader is because you already have these strengths, so don't ignore them. But know that they aren't everything and you're not perfect at those things either. Be a Batman leader to them, be willing to be flawed and own those flaws.
I first started this theory long before the Nerdsphere took Bruce Wayne's alter-ego to Zeusian heights. Apparently we're now meant to accept that the Dark Knight is such an otherworldly detective that given enough time to prepare he could beat Ron Swanson in a steak eating competition.