Are you really the authentic leader your people want you to be? Many leaders are unaware of how their lack of authenticity chips away at people, breeding dissatisfaction, distrust and disloyalty. Organizational effectiveness and productivity suffer when workers view leaders as inauthentic.
One out of three people distrusts his or her employer, according to the 2017 Edelman “Trust Barometer.” Four out of five don’t see authenticity in their leaders’ performance. When only 20 percent of leaders come across as genuine, they risk handicapping their organizations with insufficient influence, poor worker engagement, and ultimately, disappointing corporate results.
My experience working in organizations leads me to believe that people want to be led well. They want assurance that their best interests are important and that their future is in safe hands. They need to believe their leaders will make sound, effective decisions. Inauthentic leaders destroy employee confidence.
The Real Deal
Authenticity is an emotionally vital state of well-being for employees—one that heavily relies on a leader’s consistent trueness, explains consultant Karissa Thacker in The Art of Authenticity (Wiley, 2016). I agree with the author that leaders need to recognize this principle as irrefutable in order to enhance interdependence. The best leaders undergo continual self-assessment and improvement to convert habitual behaviors into authentic ones.
It’s simplistic to conclude that authenticity is created in five easy steps, but there’s no doubt that becoming more authentic encompasses several key leadership mandates:
- Be self-aware
- Earn respect
- Convey credibility
- Earn trust
Successful leaders optimize each of these behaviors to develop character and broaden influence. What are you seeing in your workplace? Are your leaders paying attention to how they are authentic?