At times, many of us have had a “work personality” and a “home personality”. It has become too common that we try to come off a certain way at work, or as leaders, feel pressure to “match” our personality to the role. As a result, we often feel depleted, begin losing interest in our work, and fail to genuinely connect with our teams. Alternatively, if we are true to ourselves and our values, we display consistency and integrity. This builds trust with our employees and allows us to create sincere relationships.
Authenticity comes from being genuine and finding a style of leadership that reflects your own values and personality. It looks different for everyone, but we see a few themes in authentic leaders:
- Listening and Relationship Building Skills
This all sounds great, but what are some steps we can take to become a more authentic leader?
Get to know yourself. Practice self-reflection and ask for feedback regularly. This will help you become more aware of your own strengths, weaknesses, values, and purpose.
Get to know your employees. Listening, and practicing empathy and acceptance go a long way. Make the effort to learn about the goals, interests, and strengths of your employees. This will allow you to build stronger teams, foster their growth, earn their trust, and create a genuine connection.
Bring your whole self to work. Authentic leaders foster a culture that accepts and encourages equally authentic behavior from their employees as well. When we bring our whole selves to work, we give others permission to do the same, resulting in employees who are more engaged, motivated, and enthusiastic.
Admit to your mistakes and share your successes. Sharing your own mistakes fosters transparency and honesty, allows the entire team to learn from the mistake, and gives your employees permission to share their own mistakes as well. Build respect by giving credit where it is due and sharing success and achievements with the entire team.
Ultimately, authentic leadership is a skill, and like any other skill it takes conscious effort to develop and maintain over time. If you make the continuous effort, you will see a change not only in yourself, but in your employees. Research has shown that authentic leadership serves as the strongest single predictor of an employee’s job satisfaction, workplace happiness, and organizational commitment.
“Being an authentic leader means leading by example. It’s demonstrating through your actions that you practice the same values and behaviors you expect from your team.” – Emmy Jonassen