When famous and inspirational leaders, such as Pope Francis, Oprah Winfrey, Warren Buffet, and Elon Musk speak, they speak from the heart, which is how they garner huge and admiring audiences. They are authentic, and they have developed a unique communication style that blends vulnerability and competency. But the power lies exactly in allowing yourself to open up, being heard and known, using your voice, and owning your unique story. Authentic leadership is one of the most effective ways of connecting with others, and it is a style of management that benefits everyone across the private and public spheres.
Authentic leaders demonstrate qualities such as:
- Understanding their purpose
- Practicing solid values
- Demonstrating self-discipline
- Establishing connected relationships
- Leading with heart
According to a 2006 research, it was found that the strongest predictor of work happiness, organizational commitment, and job satisfaction was the employees’ perception of authentic leadership.
How to Develop and Practice Authentic Leadership
Authentic leadership is comprised of four different components or skills that one can practice and develop.
1. Balanced Processing
An authentic leader is capable of acknowledging and considering alternative perspectives before deciding on a plan of action, but they also need to make decisions and follow through with them. While it’s imperative to stick to your values, it is also important to remain open to discussion and ask for alternative opinions. This will allow you to detect flaws in your initial plans or help strengthen your argument. On the other hand, your employees will feel encouraged and safe to share their opinions. Being able to accept that your opinion is likely partially biased ties to self-awareness.
Having and displaying a strong sense of self (including your values, strengths, and weaknesses) is critical for a leader. If you are not sure of what you stand for or who you are, it is impossible to demonstrate authenticity. Developing self-awareness will make you less afraid to open up and show that you don’t play games and have nothing to hide, which will make you more equipped to build trust among your employees.
Develop self-awareness by practicing regular self-observation (to be aware of your feelings), using self-reflection (to understand your behavior better), and seek feedback from the environment.
3. High Level of Moral Development
Authentic leaders know when to make a sacrifice in terms of putting the needs of the company ahead of themselves. They are not focused on themselves but on doing the right thing for the business. An authentic leader leads by example, and his behavior matches up with the values he or she wants to instill in their company culture. They have strong integrity and ethical values that they display in the face of opposition and tempting shortcuts.
4. Being Transparent, Honest, and Straightforward
To foster authenticity as a leader, you should make no room for convoluted feedback, subtle messaging, and passive aggression. It is very important to remain honest with your team, continuously give and ask for feedback, and let them know where they stand. If you’re not transparent, you cannot expect your team members to come to you with problems when they occur.
Authentic leadership is an ongoing process. Developing these skills and mindsets will help you gain a lot of credibility and respect. Be explicitly transparent, develop a coherent leadership story, express your intentions, and if you need help – ask for it.
If you are looking for ways to express your authenticity, I would be happy to provide assistance. Feel free to book a few minutes to discuss.
Call me for some complimentary advice. Book an appointment at https://go.oncehub.com/GregNichvalodoff or call me at +1 (604) 943-0800.