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How to lead more authentically?

Updated: Mar 19

Authenticity is critical to leadership. It's the starting point for genuine connections with the people you lead and meaningful impact. 

Yet, authenticity is rare. Either leaders don't know who they are, or they are afraid to share themselves with the world. As leaders, embracing authenticity isn't just a choice – it's a responsibility. 

Brené Brown puts it eloquently when she says: "Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we're supposed to be and embracing who we are."

How to do that daily practice? Here are some top tips on how to show up authentically and inspire others to do the same:

  • Know Thyself: Authenticity begins with self-reflection and self-awareness. Take the time to understand your values, strengths, and areas for growth. Talk with others about what you discover about yourself. Embrace your unique identity and let it shape your leadership style.

  • Lead with Transparency: Authentic leaders are transparent about their intentions, decisions, and challenges. Share your experiences openly, including both successes and failures. This vulnerability fosters trust and encourages others to do the same. Share your successes with champagne and failures with beer as Amy Edmondson would say. 

  • Listen with Empathy: Authenticity isn't just about expressing yourself – it's also about truly understanding others. Practice active listening and empathy to connect with your team on a deeper level. Show genuine interest in their perspectives and experiences.

  • Stay True to Your Values: In the face of adversity or temptation, stay true to your core values. Authentic leaders uphold ethical standards and demonstrate integrity in their actions. Your consistency in values-driven decision-making inspires trust and respect.

  • Embrace Vulnerability: Authenticity requires courage. Don't be afraid to show vulnerability and admit when you don't have all the answers. This humility fosters a culture of openness and fosters innovation through collaboration.

  • Seek Feedback and Growth: Authentic leaders are committed to continuous improvement. Solicit feedback from your team and be open to constructive criticism. Use this feedback as an opportunity for growth and self-reflection.

  • Balance Authenticity with Impact: While authenticity is crucial, it's important to recognize that our actions have consequences. Being authentic doesn't mean we can disregard the impact we have on others. Take responsibility for your words and actions, and strive to leave a positive impact on those around you.

Remember, authenticity is not about being who you want to be without considering others – it's about being true to yourself while also being mindful of your impact on others. Authenticity is the alignment of head, mouth, heart and feet - thinking, saying, feeling and doing the same thing - consistently. This builds trust, and people love leaders they can trust. 

P.S. If you want to develop a more authentic leadership style and could use the support and accountability of a coach to that end, reach out for a no-obligation coaching consultation.


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