Authenticity is a Leader Attribute
In my last video, I discussed how leaders should provide genuine feedback to show and tell how it should be done. In response, it would trigger genuine feedback from employees, establishing an efficient and trusted upward feedback loop.
On key element when providing feedback is to be specific. It demonstrates you have taken the time to think through. Being generic can easily be interpreted as being uninterested or worse, fake.
This would to the exact opposite effect, destroying upward feedback by either removing its substance (too generic – fearing to disclose genuine information) or dissipating it entirely (no feedback at all).
Consequently, it is essential to be specific.
Doing so, you will automatically be perceived as more genuine and authentic. This authenticity will then be paired with honesty and trust. These characteristics are crucial to encourage employees to confine and provide their own and authentic inputs into any sort of discussion.
So why many of us fail to be authentic?
They are many reasons for this, and one of the main ones is that we often believe that in a corporate setting, we have to act. We have to play a role and we cannot be ourselves. Or at least not entirely.
We have mental constructs, limiting beliefs of what is expected from us, even though, no one told us we had to behave this way. We could be mimicking previous managers or simply copying attitudes we think are best suited for the situation.
When we do so, we are not ourselves. We are not authentic.
If you are a manager, you don’t have to be tougher, nor do you have to be kinder. You need to be you. You need to be fair, to actively listen and act based on the information and feedback you did gather.
Authenticity does require to know ourselves.
We need to develop self-awareness. Namely, what are our strengths? What are our weaknesses? What are our values? How do we operate?
There is no right or wrong. There is nothing to hide. There is you.
Showing yourself truly makes you relatable. It makes you human. You don’t have to be a superhero, nor the devil, to get results and engagement. You need to show you can help, and so be helped, because there are things you are good at and others not so much.
Being authentic sends a message to others that it is OK to be as they are, to be human, to be fallible. Thus, since it is normal, no one should fear failure.
When an organization and its employees stop fearing failure, this is when standstills can be dissipated and new opportunities for growth are created.
More About Authenticity and Leadership
If you want to know more about leadership and one of its key attributes: authenticity, I strongly recommend Brené Brown’s book: “Dare To Lead – Brave Work, Tough Conversations, Whole Hearts“.
In her book, she paints leadership as a combination of four key values: vulnerability, values, trust, and resilience.
Authenticity is, to me, at the intersection of vulnerability, values, and trust. As there is a need to know oneself (values) to be authentic.
And I profoundly like a quote from the book, stating: “The courage to be vulnerable is not about winning or losing, it’s about the courage to show up when you can’t predict or control the outcome”
Similarly, we have to accept to be vulnerable (displaying our weaknesses) and be trusting of others (sharing who we are, as a whole) to be completely authentic.
Another inspiring quote to summarise this notion is: “Who we Are is How we Lead”
In doubt, don’t reinvent the wheel and start just being yourself.
If you want to know more about how to be a daring leader and develop authenticity, go read this book: “Dare To Lead – Brave Work, Tough Conversations, Whole Hearts” by Brené Brown, using this link https://amzn.to/2ERSIwq