Authentic leadership comes from the heart. Authentic leaders have a set of strengths and they lead in accordance with those strengths. They are passionate and they have a strong vision of the future. They are real. We know where they stand. We may not always agree with those leaders, but we always know where they are coming from. There are no surprises.
If you try to adopt techniques that are not truly who you are, you will come across as insincere; it will erode trust, instead of building credibility. Marcus Buckingham discusses this in his 2011 book,Standout, in which he includes an assessment tool that will help you to discover your own “Strength Roles.”
Here are ten attributes of authentic leaders:
- They celebrate success.Whether big or small, they are genuinely happy to see everyone progress and succeed. Business is about people and authentic leaders care about creating a strong environment where teams want to succeed.
- They communicate truthfully. They keep others informed and do not hold back information. They ensure knowledge is in the hands of those who have been empowered to make things happen.
- They provide constructive and timely feedback. Open and honest feedback gives people an opportunity to grow and develop.
- They walk the talk. They behave in accordance with what they espouse and how they say they want others to behave. They follow the organization’s code of conduct, which supports the desired culture. Their actions speak for themselves.
- They involve others in decisions. They negotiate individual goals rather than dictating them.
- They continue to evaluate their own performance. Authentic leaders want to know how their behaviour is perceived and are willing to adjust to remain authentic.
- They develop and communicate a strong vision. They spend time dreaming of how things could be and develop a plan to achieve it. They are able to see a vision of the future and to explain it in a way that makes it real to others.
- They are committed to excellence. They raise the standards of achievement for themselves and others beyond what might have been considered possible in the past.
- They focus on physical and emotional wellbeing. Great leaders live a healthy and balanced life.
- They leave a legacy. Authentic leaders make an impression on the people around them and they will be remembered for leaving an organization in better shape.
Choose to live an authentic life. Spend time getting to know yourself and your strengths. When you are true to yourself, you have greater ability to achieve the results you desire.