September 27th, 2019

Leader today, Authentic Leader tomorrow

Authenticity is the "State of being committed to the truth." 

"An authentic leader is a person who chooses to live a life of integrity. They are not only honest in relationship with others but most importantly they are honest and true to themselves. Does this mean they don't make mistakes? Of course they do, we are all human! And yet they have the courage to take responsibility for their ways, learn and grow. Why? because they care!...They care about you, they care about me and they care about our world." Kim Elkovich MD; A Higher Self

There's a lot of 'management-speak' about 'authenticity' and how important it is for leaders and their organisations to be authentic. Working in organisations I regularly see references to authentic leadership and organisational authenticity, but very little evidence on how it should show up in day to day activity for leaders and teams.

So what does 'authentic leadership' actually mean?

Authentic leadership is much more than just 'walking the talk'; it's rooted in your sense of purpose, leadership presence and level of sincerity. Authenticity is knowing who you truly are, what you stand for and being able to express yourself in line with your values and beliefs.

When you are being authentic as a leader, people want to follow you. They connect with you in a genuine way and get to know you, as a person first and as a leader second. As a result relationships will be deeper, team performance much higher and overall business performance improved.

Authentic leaders are courageous and follow their instincts on what feels right and make decisions based on integrity and in alignment with their conscience. They act with honour, are not afraid to admit mistakes and seek input from their followers to ensure alignment and engagement. As a result everyone is empowered, action happens and business performance flourishes.

Why do leaders benefit from being authentic?

  • They grow personally and professionally - leaders evolve and grow into more senior roles and take on greater challenges with increased confidence and courage
  • Decisions are made with clarity and there is assurance that everyone is aligned and engaged.
  • Engaging the heart as well as the mind ensures complete alignment with personal and business values and beliefs
  • Operating from a place of truth and integrity ensures connectivity, honesty and deep engagement with people
  • Creativity thrives as openness, innovation and absence of a blame culture means people are free to develop ideas and propose new ways of doing things
  • Happiness and fulfilment are embedded in the day-to-day operation and not aspirations for when the next new job or company come along

How can you become a more authentic leader?

Becoming a more authentic leader is not something that happens immediately. It requires time, effort and needs to be viewed as a learning journey. Along the way opportunities should be used to further develop some of the key areas which are fundamental to you showing up as an authentic leader. These opportunities will show up in your day to day business activities so:

  • Be willing to take action when it is required. Sitting on the fence or procrastinating about moving forward thwarts initiative and only holds you where you currently are and impacts your ability to get things done
  • Get clear on your vision and strategy. Use your insight. What are you trying to achieve; what results are expected? Once you have clarity and know where you are going, people are more likely to follow
  • Build your influence - the more authentic you are as a leader, the stronger your ability to influence will be. Creating strong coherent relationships based on trust across the organisation will attract people who want to follow you
  • Demonstrate integrity in everything you do. Hold firm to your values and beliefs in challenging situations as this will create impact and ensure that you don't compromise decisions that are important to you
  • Walk the talk and lead by example. Don't expect people to follow you if you are not prepared to do things you are asking them to do

So how can you be a more authentic leader TODAY? In which meeting? With which team? With which employee?

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By Mary Murray | Posted in: Leadership | 0 Comments


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