There is a growing belief that of all the principles of leadership development, authenticity is one of the most important. I wholeheartedly agree.
In its simplest terms, authenticity is being true to yourself. But the practice of authentic leadership is so much more than that – it also about being true with others. It is this practice that many leaders struggle with. We get to the office and suddenly the filters go up and we hide our authentic selves. We admit no limitation. We have all the answers.
So what is authenticity? It is the continuous process of building self-awareness, as well as being transparent with others about our strengths and weaknesses. One important and often overlooked element of authenticity is vulnerability. Many leaders struggle with being open about what they don’t know. But when you acknowledge that you have knowledge gaps and ask for advice, you’ll be surprised at the trust you can develop.
Here are 10 authenticity practices that every leader can aspire to do:
- Be comfortable in your own skin; don’t ever try to fake realness.
- Do not take yourself too seriously; it makes you more approachable.
- Share the full picture of who you are – that includes your stories of personal failure, vulnerability and learning.
- Don’t believe your own hype, even when you are killing it.
- Do not surround yourself with “yes people;” find people who will give it to you straight.
- Earn trust with your team by being courageously truthful.
- Encourage diversity of thoughts and opinions. Do not surround yourself with like-minded people.
- Be authentic in all aspects of your like. There should be consistency between your private self and your professional self.
- Always be open to learning. Never think you know it all.
- Dedicate yourself to purpose-driven service. Having a higher purpose gives greater meaning to your work and your life.
The thing to remember is that the core of authenticity is standing by and expressing your most heartfelt principles. To do this effectively, you must balance your self-confidence with a high degree of humility. It’s not easy, which is why it’s rare to see authenticity in leaders today. And it’s also why many leaders need help in learning this practice.
How do you practice Authentic Leadership? We would love to hear from you.
If you think you need some help developing authenticity in your leadership team, Powers Resource Center can help. Check us out at http://powersresourcecenter.com/leadership-assessments/