Authentic Leadership & Achievement

Authentic leadership has become a buzzword in business, and many executives and employees are finding that authenticity is one of the cornerstones of success.

Age of Authenticity

We live in an age of authenticity, but how did we get here? Marketing scholars have been studying brand authenticity for over 25 years, and brand authenticity is a core asset in mainstream marketing.

With the growth of the crowded and competitive social media landscape, authenticity further revealed itself as a powerful differentiator. Content creators and brands that appear more honest and transparent receive the most views, followers and conversions.

TikTok moved the needle even further because TikTok creators are less filtered, and they share more. This marketing and social media trend caused authenticity to permeate into different parts of our lives, including business management.

Authentic Leadership

Authenticity is ‘the quality of being real or true.’  This sounds simple enough, but like most human resources and business leadership aspects, authenticity can be challenging.

At work, we are evaluated on our performance, education, teamwork and more. In the face of these appraisals, being your true self at work can easily dredge up feelings of insecurity, fear of judgment by others, and a strong desire for others to like you.

Putting Authenticity in Practice

Authentic leadership is an element of leadership style that emphasizes transparency, genuineness and honesty. Authenticity can be broken down into key concepts managers must nurture and practice. Here are a few tips:

Developing self-awareness

Self-awareness is the ability to monitor your own emotions and reactions.

Studies show that people with great self-awareness are better leaders because of it. Self-awareness is a big topic. At a high level, it includes these behaviors:

  • Keep an open mind
  • Be mindful of your strengths and weaknesses
  • Stay focused
  • Set boundaries
  • Know your emotional triggers
  • Embrace your intuition
  • Practice self-discipline
  • Consider how your actions affect others

Be honest

This does not mean you can be rude or disrespectful, nor should you sugarcoat any issues. You can be transparent and still be respectful, diplomatic, and professional. The key is to express yourself well and use kind, constructive, and inclusive language. Verbal skills like using “and” instead of “but” come into play; anytime you use “but,” you risk alienating and making people feel defensive. Try to use inclusive, constructive words instead of negative ones. This isn’t being false; it’s framing the discussion in a forward-thinking way.

Engage other people

To be authentic, you must care about more than just yourself, so it is important to engage other people. Look people in the eye when you speak to them. Ask questions. Practice reflective listening. Listen to what they tell you. Resist the temptation to talk about yourself.

Treat everyone with respect

Treating others well is the surest sign of someone confident, collected, and genuine. Be gracious, polite, and respectful to everyone, from the cleaning crew to the vice president, from the assistants to the baristas, from your co-workers to the garage attendants.

Learn from other leaders

Studying the traits of successful and authentic business people is an excellent way to understand what being real looks like. They are consistent in their words, deeds, and ambitions. They are not apologetic about who they are; they integrate their personal qualities into their work life, personal life, and leadership. Some notable authentic leaders are Oprah, Steve Jobs, and Richard Branson.

Importance of Authenticity

Numerous research studies uncovered how authentic leadership is critical for organizational success.

Authentic leaders inspire engagement and trust in their teams. When leaders are honest and open about their values, goals, and actions, their team members are more likely to follow their lead. This trust is essential for building strong, cohesive teams to achieve shared goals.

Employees have faith that their leader will support, encourage, and empower them with the opportunity to take greater ownership of their work outcomes. These teams improve performance and develop the confidence to exhibit creativity, demonstrate innovation, and have greater agility when facing challenges.

You Can Be Certain with Soteria on Your Side

Our clients appreciate our authenticity, and they trust us to handle key HR functions to keep the mechanics of their companies going—the HR consulting services of Soteria HR focus on keeping your company healthy now and in the future. Contact us today.

Cana Tighe