I’ve been exploring what it takes for leaders to develop into more authentic leaders. Author Karissa Thacker in The Art of Authenticity (Wiley, 2016) suggests that becoming more authentic encompasses several key leadership mandates:
- Be self-aware
- Earn respect
- Connect with people
- Convey credibility
- Earn trust
I shared with you in my previous post how self-awareness is key to leaders who want to be truly authentic. How do leaders earn respect? Being respected begins with showing respect to others, both upline and downline in your organization. Model respect for everyone and it will be contagious.
The phrase “leading by example” is more than a suggestion. Leaders who model the behavior they want their organization to exhibit make the most effective strides in establishing a healthy culture. Employees respect leaders who “walk the talk” and regard them as authentic. Who doesn’t want to follow someone who displays noble values in decisions and behaviors?
Humility, expressed as a willingness to listen to and learn from others, is one of the most effective ways to earn respect, asserts leadership coach Brent Gleeson in his Inc.com article, “7 Simple Ways to Lead by Example.” Humility is a particularly refreshing attribute these days, and it can prove to be a valuable tool.
Authentic leaders recognize they don’t have all the answers, and probably never will. Soliciting and appreciating others’ ideas showers them with affirmation, which commands respect in return.
Connect with People
Sincere leaders say what they mean and mean what they say, thus coming across as authentic. A genuine, relational approach to people shows them they’re valued, Booth notes. When they see a leader who’s interested in them, they’ll reciprocate, thereby satisfying their need for security and value, while fueling engagement and productivity. A leader’s vision is compelling under these conditions.
When leaders want to connect with people, it shows. Their actions draw people to them, and connections grow. Relationships ascend to the next level when you seek feedback from your staff, especially regarding how they’re being managed. Your willingness to listen demonstrates an authentic sense of vulnerability that reveals courage, candor and caring.
Are your leaders paying attention to ways to build authenticity? What’s your opinion? I’d love to hear from you. You can call me at 561-582-6060, let’s talk. And as always, I can be reached here or on LinkedIn.