Authentic Leadership – Why it is non-negotiable today

Authentic Leadership – Why it is non-negotiable today

Sometimes authentic leadership can be confusing.  I’ve often heard people say, “Well I’m authentic, and if you don’t like me, that’s tough.”

To me, that’s not the definition, and it’s not a definition that harnesses the internal mindsets and resulting behaviours that will help you to become a successful leader.

Of course, we all need to determine our definition of success, and your organisation will no doubt have behaviours, values, goals, and culture(s) that will drive your success, or help you focus how you lead.

This gave little time, space, or energy to examine our own leadership behaviours.

I often think of the saying, ‘people buy from people’ – well isn’t that the same at work – we buy into those leaders who are able to listen, guide, advise, be open and communicate, who have influence and gravitas across the organisational structure – but it feels real, not fake.

But times have changed, and many organisations have woken up to the incredible benefits that can be enjoyed when leaders come from diverse perspectives and backgrounds and, in equal measure, embrace diversity in others.

After all, the power of a leader comes heavily from that own individual’s ability to harness their talents, skills, energy, and knowledge to the benefit of the organisation, the team and beyond. And that power and energy comes from being truly authentic and ‘real’.

We all know how much energy it takes to pretend to be someone or something we aren’t. Similarly, modelling accepted behaviours and styles in a non-authentic environment is exhausting and also pointless.

Cloned cultures, where leaders are basically all the same or acting as though they are. fail to recognise the value of broader perspectives and narratives that derive beyond their own limited view of the world. By failing to harness the benefits of different backgrounds, attitudes and experiences, the organisation misses the wealth of energy, creativity, power and vision exhibited by competitor firms with up-to-date, diverse hiring strategies.

None of us are perfect. Not even close. We have glaring blind spots. conscious and unconscious bias and a whole of other undesirable attributes. We are, after all, human. The authentic leader recognises their own limitations and areas for development. consciously and proactively working to mitigate their effects and soliciting the input of others in so doing.

So how can we model our own most authentic style of leadership and Lead with the right kinds of behaviours. rather than instructions?

Firstly, let’s take a look at what authentic leadership actually looks like:

Defining Authentic Leadership

When we talk about authentic leadership, we describe a holistic and integrated style of management that is naturally open, honest, and transparent. Authentic leaders are naturally legitimate to everyone with whom they interact because they are clearly themselves and they naturally inspire trust in others by being visibly imperfect when they need to be.

An authentic leader will strive to be true to themselves whatever the situation or environment. They will have a genuine style of leadership that is part of their own personality, and this degree of honesty has a huge impact on the way they are perceived. The mature leader will have worked to address any rough edges in their personality, without compromising on the very personality traits that imbue them with such strength.

Why Authentic Leadership Works

The main benefit is that people trust an authentic leader. Employees know what to expect and feel that they can raise their concerns and be listened to, and communication is enhanced. When authentic leadership is combined with strong leadership skills, then morale is boosted, productivity increases and the business can build a healthy working culture, one in which diversity, difference and individual excellence and contributions are valued in whatever shape or form they take.

The Importance of Behavioural Modelling

Authentic leaders don’t need to resort to commanding language and instruction because they use their own behaviours to define their expectations.

These leaders are naturally:

  • Self-aware and knowledgeable of their own strengths, weaknesses, and personal limitations. They show their true personality in all situations and contexts and don’t put on an act. By being visibly comfortable with themselves, they inspire others to do the same.
  • Balanced, which reflects in the way that they weigh up arguments and opinions, encourage open talk and involve their teams in decision-making processes. This boosts morale and helps to manage, and lead through, workplace conflict.
  • Transparent, giving their honest opinion and sharing ideas and thoughts, along with constructive feedback when this is required. Crucially, they will also admit to their own mistakes and be transparent in doing so, leading by example so that others will mirror this behaviour.
  • Mission focused on the outcome for the whole rather than simply focusing on their own personal self-interests. Authentic leaders make strong decisions based on the company’s mission, rather than thinking about their own power span, promotion potential or financial gain.
  • Long-term planners, able to put company needs and longer-term value into the picture of all decision making, even when that means taking on new challenges and tasks and going the extra mile.

Becoming a More Authentic Leader

There are many ways to become a more authentic leader, but these areas will all take you closer to your end goal.

Become More Self Aware

You need to know yourself to master your emotions, understand your strengths and weaknesses and become a better decision-maker. Ask for feedback, write in a journal, attend workshops, and generally work to really understand your own motivations, sticking points, talents and unique traits that can be leveraged to help others.

Know Your Values

Authentic leadership is naturally ethical so it’s important to know what you believe in. Once you are clear about your values, your own actions and words will support your beliefs and signal what matters to you. This helps you to build buy-in, trust and motivation from others.

Work On Your Communication

A great and authentic leader will always be a skilled communicator, so really work on your skills, practise active listening, and take care to reply to emails and calls quickly and effectively. Remember that your role as a leader is to remove any blockages that exist in your team. Provide rapid guidance and answers to enable your employees to work as effectively as they can and to build their respect and trust in you.

Lead by Example and Set Your Own Precedents

This means delivering on what you say you will do to build respect from others and to show others that you work hard and take ownership. Get involved in difficult tasks and show your commitment too.

Listen and Ask Questions

Empower your team and learn from others by listening, remaining at all times open minded and respectful of their suggestions and opinions.

Treating them with respect in any and all situations. Noise, vigour, and aggression may have a place in Leadership on the battlefield and in the global theatre, but they have no place in modern leadership. ‘Authentic’ is not an excuse for ‘undisciplined’.

Build a Network

There are plenty of excellent professional and business networks that can link you with other emerging and experienced leaders so you can learn from their challenges and issues. Work with a coach too to build your skills and to reflect on what you are learning.

Sarah Jones Leadership Coaching and Authentic Leadership

I have personally overcome many challenges people face as they progress their careers on the path to becoming leaders. With over 25 years working in leadership positions within global organisations, Sarah is perfectly placed to help you in finding your authentic self.

If you are an aspiring leader of the future, an experienced leader or an organisation looking to widen the skillset of your leadership team, then please contact Sarah who can help you achieve your goals.

How can I help you?   

I have a wide range of different coaching programmes that are tailored to the needs of an individual, these will allow us to address together very specific challenges, which could include:

  • Emergencies
  • Communications
  • Confidence
  • Influence & Persuasion
  • Imposter Syndrome
  • Motivating Teams
  • Relationship Building
  • Resilience
  • Dealing With Conflict
  • Dealing With Pressure & Stress
  • Dealing With Difficult Situations

My training programmes start at only £279.00, but in order to recommend a coaching programme and provide you with a quote, we would first need to talk thorough the challenges you are facing, identify where I can help you and how long this is likely to take.

The first step in this process is by booking a free, no obligation call with me.

Book Your Call & Get A Quotation

Your first call is obligation free, confidential and completely free of charge

The next step in your development journey is getting a professional assessment on the what practical steps you can take to develop and improve your skill set, mindset and your prospects. 

Executive development coaching

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Branding oneself as a leader, sarah jones leadership coaching, Assertive Communication