In a recent coaching session a deep discussion ensued about what it means to show our “true self”. We explored why it sometimes seems easier to just become the team’s image of who they think we are. After all, is it necessary to reveal our “real side” if it may upset our team members? Fitting in or playing a particular role that is expected of us can feel less stressful than allowing our authentic side to emerge. So maybe it is best for leaders to just go with the flow and follow the team.
When we pretend to be somebody we are not and act against our natural grain, we will eventually end up frustrated and angry. Not being truthful will often lead us to perform at a lower level and create disconnections with our teams and organizations. It’s also exhausting to be somebody we are not. So starting today let’s pivot to the leader we are meant to be. Let’s bring out our authenticity.
Here Are Five Shifts To Authentic Leadership:
1. Recognize You Are Not Bringing Your Authenticity
The first step in making a shift to authentic leadership is being honest about how you are presenting yourself in your workplace and with colleagues. Is the real you being seen or are you pretending to be someone else? Love yourself by being brave enough to admit that you may not be showing others who you are and what you are truly all about.
2. Clarify What Your Authentic Self Looks Like
Next it is helpful to understand completely what your authentic self is all about. Whatever is your authentic self, be consistent with it. Try asking yourself these questions to own your authenticity:
- What core values drive my every action and decision?
- How do I need to present myself to be seen as “me”?
- What can’t I compromise on that is non-negotiable?
- What does my authentic behavior consist of?
3. Speak In Your Authentic Voice
Our communication style is very important to our leadership authenticity. When we speak in a tone that we are comfortable and not in one that diminishes our message we will be heard. Think about how you want to sound. How loud is too loud? How soft is too soft? What types of words do we want to use to make sure our message is clear, open and respectful? Can you say “no” when necessary? Find the right balance to reflect your authentic voice.
4. Encourage Team Members To Honor Authenticity
Once you have zeroed in on your authentic self, help your team members find theirs. Ask them the same questions you asked yourself about leading in an authentic way. Then try to:
- Build deeper work relationships by supporting honest responses
- Develop stronger team players by helping others find their gifts and face their blind spots
- Maintain honest interactions and discussions that empower each person to contribute their perspectives
5. Help Create A Culture Of Authentic Leadership
By working to cultivate authentic leadership in yourself and with your team members, you will be modeling a culture of authentic leadership. Help spread authenticity across teams throughout the entire organization. When leaders are authentic there will be greater collaboration and less competition. When we share the truth, have honest interactions and don’t hide information, our successes will grow too.
How have you shifted to authentic leadership? What helped you become a more authentic leader?
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