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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.