Becoming an Authentic Leader

If you’ve spent any time in the workforce, you’ve noticed that there are several different theories and styles of leadership. Some supervisors and managers put on a mask, hiding their true personalities, as soon as they come through the door. To these individuals, leadership is considered an act or a role to play, and they have no idea their employees are perceptive enough to see through the façade.

But more often than not, they do. Eventually, the manager’s true personality (or “after work personality”) shows itself, even for a moment. And employees notice. What happens next is a gradual buildup of mistrust and insecurity among employees and shock and confusion in bosses when they realize they’re not trusted or even liked by their employees.

This is why one of the leadership concepts that is gaining more ground in modern times is what many refer to as authentic leadership.

So, what is authentic leadership? Authentic leadership is a straightforward and honest way of managing people. It consists of the following four key components:

Being self-aware and genuine
Authentic leaders are known for being openly aware of themselves, including their areas of strength, their limitations, and their emotions. By being self-actualized and transparent about their own personal truths, they have no trouble showing their true selves to the people they lead. This garners trust and encourages others to do the same.

There is no difference between the way authentic leaders behave in a private setting and the way they behave in a public one. They don’t try to conceal their mistakes or shortcomings because they’re not so concerned about appearing weak. They understand that every person is on an ongoing journey that will involve challenges, failures, successes, growth, and new lessons learned. Instead of hiding their own experiences on that journey, they openly embrace it and share it with others.

Focusing on the mission and the results
Above all other things, authentic leaders are driven by the mission at hand and are focused on creating results. By putting an organization’s goals and strategies above their own personal interests, they’re able to deliver great work without ever allowing their egos or personal emotions to take away from what they’re capable of achieving.

Making room for your heart
Authentic leaders tend to lead not only with their minds, but also with their hearts. Instead of concealing their emotions out of fear of appearing weak, they wear their hearts on their sleeves and understand the value of showing their true vulnerabilities when necessary.

This helps authentic leaders forge even deeper and healthier connections with their employees. Keeping your heart in mind allows you to communicate with your team in a much more direct and fearless manner, which results in extremely successful outcomes. And letting empathy into the process creates a leader who is not only frank and straightforward, but also passionate, understanding, and approachable. Such transparency builds trust, and trusting employees are the foundation of some of the most productive and results-driven teams.

Thinking long-term
Authentic leaders always have one eye on the future. Instead of just kicking the can down the road from quarterly estimate to quarterly estimate, authentic leaders constantly have an eye on the long-term implications. They think about long-term shareholder value, they care about nurturing employees as well as their companies – knowing the only way to do so is by dedicating hard work and patience every day.

As a leader, what motivates you the most? What kind of leader do you want to be? At Blue Labrador, we can help you learn more about your personal leadership style and help you map out a path to improved employee engagement. Call us now to schedule time to speak with us!

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