Authenticity is more than a buzzword. Often people will describe it as being a genuine and transparent leader. But being authentic doesn’t necessarily mean you should let people see the real you. It doesn’t mean you lie to people about who you are, either. It means you use authenticity to demonstrate who you are becoming.
Authenticity or Impulse?
Authenticity is never an excuse to care less about how you affect others. A leader that raises their voice at someone in the workplace when a mistake is made, doesn’t represent true authenticity. The feeling or emotion may have been authentic. But that is a lack of impulse control, and a demonstration of behavior that others should not emulate. Authenticity means being authentic to who you want to be at your best, instead of your impulsive or reactive self.
Authenticity is essential for a leader.
When you appear authentic to someone, they immediately know they can trust you. When others can see the things that you care about, and understand the challenges that are on your path, you have demonstrated authenticity to them. This is something they can connect to and aspire to demonstrate themselves.
Follow these 4 steps to demonstrate true authenticity:
- Define success for you as a leader: What are the beliefs and guiding principles that you believe must be true to in order to be a successful leader?
- Share the ideals that you are aspiring to as a leader. Let others know what challenges you face along the way, or where you mess up sometimes.
- Share the why behind your ideals. Share why these things matter to you.
- Build habits that exhibit your ideals, so that over time people understand your progress and commitment to things you care about.
Seeing is believing. Therefore, people will believe you are authentic when they see you working toward the things you care about. Even if you’re still making mistakes along the way.