How to be an authentic and more effective leader

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Authenticity is one of those buzzwords that gets bandied around the place every few years. The trouble is that often people don’t take the time to understand just why authenticity is so valuable. Often people in leadership positions are more concerned with protecting their own lives and selves that they lose the trust and loyalty of their team. We want to help you create earnest and genuine relationships with your team and wider stakeholders in business. When you operate professionally with authenticity, you can increase positive relationships, engender dependability and create an open and trustworthy workspace. Read on for some top tips on becoming a more authentic leader.

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Know thyself

Being self-aware is such an important part of authenticity in and out of leadership. If you don’t understand your own behaviours and motivators, you are highly unlikely to be able to be effective in managing and inspiring others. Harvard Business School published an article that outlines just how vital self-awareness is in becoming a successful and authentic leader. The article has some great tips specifically for those looking to work on this aspect of their development. Combine these exercises with a deep understanding of your emotional intelligence and you are off to a great start.

 

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Lead with the heart

Many people in positions of authority make the mistake of removing or compartmentalising their heart and mind in business. Whilst being in control of your emotions and understanding and honing your emotional intelligence are crucial aspects of business, closing them off completely is highly problematic. You will be far more likely to connect with your team if you show vulnerability and openness. Empathy is an incredibly vital tool in showing your team you understand where they are coming from. In addition to that when you show empathy you genuinely understand the point of view of others, and can consequently communicate more effectively with those people.

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Be yourself

Not only must your know yourself, but you must be yourself too. All too often the notion of self-monitoring is misinterpreted as showing a lack of genuineness. In fact, there is a chain of research that has implied that monitoring oneself is proof that being genuine doesn’t work. What they miss, and what advocates of genuine leadership will tell you, is that monitoring and adjusting your behaviour to suit your professional challenges is not in fact pretending to be someone you are not. It is the opposite. When you understand yourself and your own behaviours, you are more able to successfully offer sincere communication and leadership.

Monitor your behaviour

While we are on the topic, let’s explore how you can maintain your integrity and often enhance it with a little bit of self-monitoring. When done with the purpose of connecting more effectively, self-monitoring can increase positive relationships and trust amongst your team. It can actually assist you in becoming more authentic. The Employer Branding Academy published a useful article outlining the advantages of self-monitoringfor those looking for more details.

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Lead by example

The best way to show your team that you are who you say you are is to show them. Lead by example. Show people the kind of team you want by engaging your team in those behaviours. If you want a genuine and open team, show your team your own vulnerability. When you exemplify the key behaviours you are looking for in a team, you will, in turn inspire that team to take on those behaviours too. Read the Inc. article for 11 Remarkably Effective Ways to Lead by Example.

Never sacrifice your integrity

This is a rule to live by. Maintaining your integrity is an essential key to being an effective and successful leader. Integrity builds confidence, trust and loyalty and encourages your internal and external stakeholders alike to maintain a similar sense. The Lead on Purpose blog is a great resource for leaders looking to improve. They have a particularly interesting article on why integrity is such a key part of successful leadership.

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Keep Learning

Being an authentic leader means being on top of the trends of the market, both in terms of leadership and business. Ensure that you embrace learning and development for both you and your team. Read our blog post for some Top Tips for Designing a Foolproof Learning and Development Program. For some great updates and advice as to how to be a more authentic leader in the long term, register for the Konnect learning Authentic Leadership Forum in March 2017.

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10 Top Tips for fostering a positive company culture

Research is increasingly revealing some scary statistics when it comes to employee satisfaction. Employees aren’t engaged, trust in our leaders is at an all-time low, and employees are on the constant lookout for something new, exciting and more appealing. The fact is the happier your employees, the more productive, loyal and committed they will become.

You cannot underestimate the importance of a positive company culture. Get that right, and so much of your business will fall into place. Follow these top tips to create a more effective culture in your workplace.

Communication is key

We are all starting to realise the value in realising effective communication in the workplace. A tight communication strategy and an open-door policy can make strides in changing the way your employees see both the leadership team and the company. If you have five minutes, we highly recommend taking a moment to view these hilarious videos about communication in the workplace.

Be the right kind of leader

There are some pretty uninspiring examples of rubbish leadership out there – quick to put people down and crush morale. Striving for power and superficial congratulation is the quickest route to becoming a crappy leader. Be an authentic, genuine, effective and trustworthy leader, and your team will follow you to the ends of the world and back.

Know your vision and communicate your goals

When your team understands your wider vision, they are more likely to be invested in it. Create achievable goalposts for all employees and create a direct link back to your wider company vision. This way your team is always connected to your higher overall goal.

Do everything in your power to engage your team

Employee engagement is one of the most important tools in maintaining satisfaction, loyalty and productivity. Don’t be another statistic. Don’t make the same mistakes as so many companies. Your culture is entirely reliant on whether or not your team is engaged with it. Read Dale Carnegie’s 50 Employee Engagement Ideas and Tips for some hands-on advice.

Whatever decisions you make – be transparent with your team

We often talk about the value of transparency in our blog posts, because you really cannot underestimate how valuable it can be. When someone feels trusted they are more likely to trust in return. Your team will be more powerful, more loyal and more engaged when you involve them in the process.

Celebrate when things go well

We are so often quick to criticise when things don’t go to plan – looking for a face to blame in a bid to ensure it doesn’t happen again. What about the wins? Your team has achieved their goals and instead of celebrating, it’s business as usual. Celebrating those wins with your team is crucial to a positive culture and there are numerous ongoing advantages.

Foster health and wellbeing

Employee health and wellbeing are not just buzzwords to repeat in your annual report. If you want to keep a solid, satisfied, productive workforce, you absolutely must actively support their mental and physical health. Following these simple tips, are just some of the ways you can improve your workplace health and wellbeing.

Promote teamwork and camaraderie

As we’ve mentioned your company culture is entirely dependent on the investment of your team. Without them, it’s lip-service for the board. Your team needs to feel that they are part of something – they need to feel like a team. Work on building a feeling of camaraderie amongst your employees by implementing changes such as the recommendations in this Small Business article.

Inject a little bit of humour

We all love to laugh, it makes us happy and builds positivity. In the workplace, there are real and tangible advantages of injecting a little bit of humour into your workplace. Don’t be afraid to throw a little fun into your work. If it is consistent with your wider goals, it’ll only serve to improve your company culture overall. Watch this hysterical Twitter video on workplace culture for a little inspiration.

Support training and development

Nothing shows you’re invested in your team more than when you actively invest in their development. The wise words of Richard Branson are timeless and so true. Create an effective learning and development program, and you’ll reap the rewards.

Culture is a fickle thing. If you get it wrong, you can forever scar your reputation and business overall. Register for the Konnect Learning Fostering Company Culture Masterclass and you are on the path to business success.