HUFFINGTON POST
09/29/2014 08:00 am ET

Want To Be A Great Leader? Start Acting Weirder

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For some reason, leaders struggle to embrace their "inner weirdness." But if you don't figure out how to do it, you'll miss out on one of the simplest ways to strengthen your team and build an amazing company culture.

When we talk about building weirdness in our team, the ultimate goal is to develop a company with perfect authenticity. Tony Hsieh is a firm believer in this, and it's allowed him to build one of the best company cultures in the world with Zappos.

There are plenty of benefits of acting weird around your employees. Here are a few to get you started.

1. You'll encourage your employees to be themselves.

When you start building your team, many times new hires will be nervous meeting everyone for the first time. The best way to get them to open up is to immediately share embarrassing stories about yourself during a company meeting. This will get them to start laughing, and they'll notice that the leader of the company is down to earth.

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Some leaders believe they need to be stern and appear perfect 24/7 to fill their role. This is one of the worst beliefs a head of a company can have. You need to be open with your team about your weaknesses, because that's how you build respect and credibility. No one wants to work for a leader who seems fake, just as you don't want your employees acting inauthentic. Once you start opening up and acting weirder around the office, you'll notice the rest of your team will follow suit. Pretty soon, everyone will act like themselves in the company, and your office will become much more fun.

2. Your company will be more innovative.

As a leader, it's tough to get all team members comfortable enough to speak up when they have an idea. Voicing out-of-the-box ideas in company meetings is a perfect way to get everyone else to start chiming in with ideas.

In rare cases, you might even want to throw out a really weird idea that you know your team will not like. This will register to your team members that their ideas can't be as bad or weird as yours, and they'll start speaking up more. Because you're the leader, your employees will feel empowered when their ideas are picked over yours. Will you lose the spotlight? Sure, but your team will build enough confidence to start innovating without you.

3. You'll hire better people.

Once your team members start showing their inner weirdness, it will start rubbing off on people whom you interview. Right off the bat, they'll be able to see what working at your company will be like.

Ideally, you'd want them to appreciate the fact that everyone is a little quirky and proud of it in your office. Sometimes, people won't be looking for that in an organization, but those are the people you want to keep out of your company.

Try asking an applicant a few funny questions. Then gradually move the weirdness scale further by inviting the person to a company social. At the social, share embarrassing stories, and try being as authentic as possible. By the time you're done, both you and the applicant will know if the applicant is weird enough for the job.

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