The Power of Authentic Leadership
Leading from a place of authenticity is a powerful and sadly "too rare tool" in the workplace. Why is such a powerful tool used so infrequently? In my experience, primarily because it takes a large dose of personal courage and the willingness to experience the professional risk of "marching to your own drummer." It isn't easy to summon the courage to shrug off the corporate mask and be more honest, transparent, and genuine in your communication and interactions.
What is it?
Authentic leadership is about increased transparency, openness, and courage. But authenticity is more than just being yourself—it's about leading with purpose, integrity, and intention—the intention to create connection, trust, and collaboration in a unique and inspiring way.
You can be yourself with little awareness of how you are modeling team member communication and ways of working. The most effective leaders do almost everything with intention. In other words, they have an end goal and have thought about how to get themselves and their teams there.Intention doesn't reduce authenticity; it simply guides it, informs it, and ultimately boosts its impact.
Authenticity Enhances Engagement and Loyalty
Authenticity enhances communication because it helps bridge the inevitable gaps between people. In the workplace, it encourages amore open dialogue between leadership and employees which encourages ideas to flow more freely and enables them to be heard and more deeply considered when making decisions or setting goals. Lastly, this leadership choice also leads to increased accountability because everyone feels more included, aligned, and confident in their roles.
Authentic leaders don't shy away from difficult conversations—they embrace them as an opportunity for growth. They are self-aware enough to recognize when they make mistakes or need help, and they need to take responsibility for their actions out loud. They realize that rather than damaging their credibility, showing their humanness and vulnerability enhances people's willingness to trust and be led by that leader.
Authenticity Builds Trust
Trust is at the foundation of all successful relationships. At work, this applies to customers and team members alike. When employees know they can trust their leaders (as people, not just managers),they are more likely to problem-solve more actively and courageously. Further, they are more willing to honestly challenge and push back when they have concerns. The last impact isn't necessarily ideal; who wants more pushback? The reason it’s a good thing is you will see people present their challenges in far more collaborative ways, leading to better decision-making because employees feel safe and empowered to be full contributors. From a customer standpoint, when you have confidence in the leaders and teams you are partnering with, that typically translates into far stronger "brand loyalty" and creates long-term success for everyone involved.
Authentic leadership is a powerful tool that allows leaders the leverage to deliver better and compete in today's competitive marketplace. That competition extends to the battle for talent and employee retention, as well as competing for customers. Further, that deeper sense of trust creates an environment where everyone will more readily pivot and realign regardless of business circumstances or macroeconomic changes. So, if you want to speed your organization to greater success in today's competitive marketplace, it's time to "up your authentic leadership game!" A Coach skilled at working in this area can help a willing leader make enormous strides in their ability to lead their business and people.