Increasing Authenticity

Posted in management by Christopher R. Wirz on Thu Mar 10 2016

Note: For this post, assume you are a leader.

A leader must project and show competence and confidence. Confidence is projected through words and non-verbal behaviors. This includes eye contact and tone of voice. Competence is shown through the work produced.

Research has shown that most successful leaders who create the strongest teams are confident, competent, and authentic. Authentic means being open, showing humanity, being humble and always modeling a consistent norm. Authentic characteristics allow a leader's confidence and competence to have maximum effect.

To be an authentic leader, remain open as a decision maker. While some orders are given orders autocratically, most of the time they should be more collaborative. A leader must be decisive, but even more so inclusive. Whenever possible, get them involved and give them voice.

An authentic leader also strives to be human. This often involves not hiding imperfections. For your team to see a leader as a complete human, they need to know more than just the leader's successes. While not drawing attention, a leader does not hide past professional mistakes, failures, and learning moments. A few times each year, find an appropriate time to share one or more of these with the team in an effort to learn and improve. This will make the team see you as more human, just like them. Being human also makes the team more willing to reciprocate and in the process of professional growth.

Sharing the human aspects of a leader projects humility. Humility is an intelligence that keeps us from thinking too highly or too often about ourselves. Humility involves modesty as it keeps us focused on how much we have yet to learn. The most accomplished leaders without humility risk being viewed as arrogant or conceited. A leader can demonstrate humility by listening more than speaking, by promoting employees to others and finding opportunities to share authority with employees.

Authentic leaders are also consistent. Consistency involves demonstrating standards of behavior and performance on a daily basis. These standards and practices are the way of life for a leader. Confidence and competence are good for leaders, but the best leaders are truly authentic.

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