We’ve talked about authenticity before. Authenticity is not a new concept in business and is now recognised as an essential strength for successful leaders.
But why? Let’s talk about the reasons authenticity is beneficial to leaders as well as the teams they steer.
Authenticity is all about knowing who you are, what you believe in, and staying faithful and true to your own personal vision and goals. As a result, making decisions can be easier when you stick to what fits best with you and your priorities. It doesn’t mean you become blinkered or closed to innovation, but it does mean you are less likely to be distracted by tasks, projects or endless meetings that don’t add value. Saying no is easier, and by staying on track and delivering a clear message about your objectives, you will also spend less time explaining your decisions.
“The more of me I be, the clearer I can see.” ― Rachel Archelaus
People who are not honest or are proven liars do not make a good leader. They are actually the opposite of authentic. When you interact with other in an honest and truthful manner, do what you say and stick to your principles, people want to work with you. Like attracts like, and if you want to attract awesome people to work with you and stay there, then authenticity is a magnetic skill.
No one knows everything, and it is inauthentic to pretend that you do. When you are open and honest about the fact you have things to learn and are willing to do so, then learning is much easier. Authentic leaders are not afraid to call on an expert, employ a consultant, seek the counsel of a mentor or undertake training. Knowing when you need help and asking for it means you will create a culture of continuous improvement and inspire others to seek new skills and learning as well.
We don’t get it right all of the time. No one is perfect, and sometimes the decisions you make turn out to be the wrong one. That’s ok! When you trust your instincts and make decisions based on your goals, beliefs and priorities, sometimes you will still make mistakes but you won’t have regrets. Making the best decision you can based on the knowledge you have is the key to limiting your regret and not second guessing old decisions. If you get it wrong you learn and do better next time.
“Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.”
― Brené Brown
It can be tempting to accept a profitable contract, even though you might not be entirely comfortable with the deal, or employ a gun candidate for your vacancy, even when your gut instinct tells you they are not quite the right fit. When you are true to your authentic self, you can say no to what seem to be great opportunities, and feel fine about it. Showing you cannot be bought, and can show courage and strength creates trust and loyalty that is far more important than a quick win.
Being trustworthy and authentic is priceless.