Being Authentic – Leadership by Example

You are human, they are human, share life, its joys and horrors

“Authentic Leaders are not afraid to show emotion and vulnerability as they share in the challenges with their team. Developing a solid foundation of trust with open and honest communication is critical to authentic leadership.”
Farshad Asl, The “No Excuses” Mindset: A Life of Purpose, Passion, and Clarity

I think the leaders I have most trusted are those who are authentic, share their opinions, admit to their failures, build plans with their teams (as opposed to building it on their own), and advocate for you and your career. If things change they admit to it.

We trust people who we feel are authentic and often they will inspire us. Authentic leaders give you the sense they are the same at work and at home. When a leader divides their personality between work and home (sometimes to protect themselves) this leaves gaps that others can sense or see.  This often leaves an impression of a lack of authenticity, and can create a space for distrust.

Authenticity creates trust. We’re drawn to those who “keep it real” who realize that they aren’t perfect, but are willing to show those imperfections because they know everyone else has them, too.

Authenticity doesn’t mean sharing everything about yourself, to everyone, all of the time. It does mean saying what you mean, meaning what you say, and sticking to your values and principles above all else.

Authentic is not been passive aggressive – instead be open and clear with your communication. If you have to say something – choose the environment, timing and say it.

If you are comfortable to be completely yourself as a leader at work, everyone else will feel safe to be themselves.

“Extraordinary things begin to happen when we dare to bring all of who we are to work.”

“We are all of fundamental equal worth. At the same time, our community will be richest if we let all members contribute in their distinctive way, appreciating the differences in roles, education, backgrounds, interests, skills, characters, points of view, and so on.”
— Frederic Laloux, Reinventing Organizations

Thoughts on Authenticity:

  1. What are you your Values and Principles? Write them down, understand them and check your behavior against them.  Reflect on them at regular intervals. Do you have a work self and personal life self?
  2. How often do you reflect?
  3. Who are your mentors, advisers and coaches?
  4. How do you get feedback from your reports?
  5. How often do you solve problems with your team?
  6. When you make a decision do you rely on authority of your position or do you explain why?
  7. How much does your team know about you? How well do you know your team?
  8. Do you share your failures and what you learnt?

Resources on Authenticity:

Bring your whole self to work – Mike Robbins TEDxBerkeley

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