Authenticity and leadership are complementary. Authenticity nourishes the trust that makes leadership work. When people detect a situation that doesn’t reflect who their leaders are, mistrust develops. And, like a weed, negative impressions can build quickly and overgrow a leader’s true personality.
Authenticity and Leadership Examined
Knowing yourself is the root of authenticity, so begin by reflecting on your thoughts and emotions. Unearth the beliefs and values that life and important individuals have taught you.
Strengths and weaknesses are part of every one’s reality. Discover your strengths by recording what led to specific successes in several different situations. What you didn’t do well reveals your weaknesses.
Enthusiasm or disinterest show up in how we behave. Enthusiasm leads naturally to putting in strong effort both on and off the job. Disinterest makes it hard to get ‘up’ to do something.
Confidence and uncertainty can vary. Every leader has feelings about how well they can affect the future and their place in it. Confidence leads to proactive decisions and action; uncertainty creates hesitation. Identify where you feel you can and cannot create a positive future.
Transparency is the result of knowing yourself and contributes to authenticity. No one reveals everything; but, you need to be open enough to reflect who you are.
The Importance of Values
We like people like ourselves. So, if you share your values and underlying beliefs, you can help others to express theirs. Be open to sharing your common strengths and weaknesses, enthusiasms and disinterests, confidence and uncertainty. The positive will displace the negative, but if you minimize the negative, people will judge this as false.
Build authenticity with your team by showing all the results of your work, then take modest credit for successes and honest responsibility for shortfalls. When their leader shares results, subordinates feel less timid about sharing theirs.
Recognize when others need help. If someone feels overwhelmed, they will appreciate being able to work with a leader who is seen as human yet successful. Such leaders provide an example of how weaknesses can be overcome and success achieved. In this situation, everyone gains – leaders, team members, and the organization.
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