Authentic leadership is a term that has been bandied about for a while. However, with the recent turbulence across the British political spectrum, I have a feeling that we will be hearing a lot more about it, particularly in the political arena.
What does the term mean to you? If you think about the leaders of the organisation you work in, do they embody it?
As a business owner, strictly speaking I only have myself to ‘lead’ but certainly being authentic in how I run my business and how people experience me is pivotal.
I often wonder whether there would be less politics and better business outcomes in big corporates if people were more authentic.
So what does being authentic actually mean? Just a few of my thoughts:
- Being clear what you are good at and being honest about that.
- Not being afraid to say you don’t know.
- Inviting others’ input, particularly in areas where you are less strong.
- Being able to hear others’ views and feedback without reacting defensively or aggressively.
- Living your values.
- Being human and real with people – this doesn’t mean sharing your whole life with colleagues and clients but trying to build rapport.
- Sticking to what you said and if you’re unable to, being clear why (certainly one for the politicians!).
What might be the benefits of being more authentic?
- People will engage with you more genuinely.
- You’ll get more out of those you work with, as they will be more willing to be authentic and therefore be their best selves.
- A more enjoyable work environment where people are more likely to want to give their best which will benefit the top and bottom line.
Becoming an authentic leader really starts with awareness – awareness of your values, strengths and weaknesses, how you are perceived and how you build relationships. If you’d like to make your work environment more productive and positive and perform to the best of your abilities being your authentic self, get in touch to see how I can help.
Image courtesy of freeimages.com/Pierre Amerlynck