Recently, I attended a conference and the word authentic was used fairly frequently. The more it was used, the more it made an impact on me. I was thinking, what does it mean to be authentic? Why do they feel they need to say it as much as they are? How can I model being authentic as a leader? No, this isn’t a philosophy post, but my hope is it make you think. Authenticity is important in being a good leader and there are a number of reasons of what it means, why its important and how it is used. This post will break these down and focus on those questions.
First, the number of reasons that being authentic is important to every leader. When you are leading others, that means they are following your lead. Most people do not have blind faith in others, although we often believe others have good intentions. When leading others it is important that you earn, keep and cultivate trust. Earning trust can be easy at first, so it is important that you keep earning it. We as leaders do this by follow up and follow through. If you say something or make a commitment, ensure it is something you are willing to accomplish.
Second, is all about how you model your commitment to the folks you lead. There are a couple of ways to demonstrate this behavior. When you commit, do so on paper/notes not just say it. Ensure there is a deadline you can meet. Then most importantly, follow through and communicate the work is done or a roadblock.
Lastly, being authentic is being vulnerable. Which means you let yourself shine through. If you focus on an act, you become exhausted and eventually that will break down in challenging times. Who you are is important, because as a leader, those that follow you will see through that role you are playing. Be you, always be the person who you are. If not you will break the trust you’ve earned and worked hard to keep in an instance. Find places in which you truly enjoy and can be honest. When you feel fulfilled, others will be too.
Authenticity is key to being genuine and leading others. We talk about it as leaders because it matters, most of the time above everything else. Being honest and who you are creates an inclusive environment where you are able to learn and make mistakes. Help your people grow and be your authentic self and your teams will always find success with a strategy of inclusion and growth.