Last Thursday, we talked about the definition of authentic leadership, as well as looked at why some leaders shy away from authenticity in Part 1. Today, I want to talk about authenticity as a leadership tool, and why it is so powerful.
The Power of Authenticity
What is the power behind authenticity? What are the results of a leader who is authentic and works to build his authenticity? Here are several key by-products of a leader pursuing authenticity.
“To be nobody but myself-in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make me somebody else-means to fight the hardest battle any human can fight, and never stop fighting.” E. E. Cummings
Authenticity creates trust
Trust is a key component in any team. Millennials tend to trust leaders who are authentic over leaders who are not. The younger generation is very adept at telling the difference between the two kinds of leaders. They are quick to discern the false from the true.
People who keep their thoughts, feelings, and personal lives close to their vest are hard to get to know, at best, and, at worst, can be intimidating. These kinds of attitudes don’t build trust, and worst-case scenario can breed an atmosphere akin to walking on eggshells.
Authenticity gives others permission
Being authentic gives others permission to be authentic as well. As the leader goes, so goes the team. When the leader gives off an air of authenticity, you are likely to find a team who is more authentic as well.
This is an area that is “caught” be example more then “taught”. As others see you being authentic, they feel the freedom to do the same. People (I believe) naturally want to be free to be themselves. Authenticity produces trust (above) and also prevents walls from building up among team members and serves to break down walls that have already been raised, which is the next by-product of being authentic.
Authenticity breaks down walls
When you are genuine and allow others to be genuine around you, it creates an environment that a.) prevents barriers from forming between you and team members, and b.) begins to break down walls that were there to begin with.
Authentic leadership strives to keep the channels of communication open between leadership and team members and among team members themselves. People know and feel the level of authenticity and acceptance in a team and typically adjust their level of openness accordingly.
Authenticity is what gives us freedom to be ourselves and be comfortable with who we are, and it’s also what gives us access to connecting with other people in a meaningful and genuine way. – Mike Robbins
Now that we’ve discovered the “why” behind a lack of authenticity from leaders and the power of being authentic as a leader, let’s turn to some ways that you can be more authentic as a leader. These are things that will take practice and pushing yourself outside your comfort zone but well worth the effort.
Next week, we will finish this series on Why Authenticity is a Powerful Leadership Tool in the third and final post in this series.
Image credit: Bigstock Photo, kbuntu