5 Steps to Authentic Leadership

5 Steps to Authentic Leadership

Lack of Integrity and Authenticity is a deal breaker between leader and follower.  Seeking to be authentic is a positive step in any leader’s personal development. Having an authentic leader helps promote mutual trust and respect between leader and follower.

Cultivating authenticity in your personal life and leadership style is not arriving at a destination. Authenticity is not a railway station in our leadership journey. Authentic leadership is about making the right decisions within the moment, as each situation arises. The leader is constantly faced with the choice to be authentic or not in: truth, mission and values.

Having a method to evaluate authenticity is important to a leader. It helps him or her gauge their progress and whether or not they are moving in the right direction. This evaluation requires the leader to be both honest and vulnerable. Honesty is for the self evaluation: Am I Authentic? Vulnerability is for surveying those that follow: Am I Authentic? Read the article on 5 Tips to Evaluating Authentic Leadership here.

Before we evaluate our authenticity, we need to know how to express it. Here are five basic tips to developing a authentic leadership attitude:
  1. Know your Values and Beliefs: Values make us who we are, make us do what we do, empower us to achieve or limit us to stay where we are. Knowing your values will allow you to understand your decision making process and to have better control of your emotions. Knowledge of your values will help you make decisions in the moment to be more authentic and true to who you really are. Read more on values and beliefs here.
  2. Have a Vision and Mission: Be clear on who you are (values) and be clear on what you want to achieve (mission). Mission becomes the rail on which we run our purpose and goal setting.  A clear mission will help you decide which projects you should be involved in and which you should just let pass you by. The power to make these kinds of decisions will lead you to authentic leadership styles.
  3. Communications Skills: Knowing what you want to say and saying it in a manner that gets the result you desire is crucial to successful leadership. Excellent communication helps leaders understand their follows, helps them motivate and influence others in a beneficial manner. This communication Skill must go hand in hand with a genuine care for others. Most people easily sniff out manipulation and insincerity.  Communicating out of a place of care and concern will create authentic leadership.
  4. Say what you mean and mean what you say: When we communicate we create expectations and impressions. The leader must have every intention of living up to the expectations created. Don’t say things that you don’t mean. Being true to your words creates a reputation of integrity.
  5. Be consistent: Number one way to prove that you are a flake is to be inconsistent. It shouts a lack of integrity. Consistent behaviour, attitude and application of policies will generate a reputation of reliability and authenticity.
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