Adding authenticity to leadership is vital for inspiring people to follow. Authentic leaders are known to show five distinct qualities: practicing solid values, establishing connected relationships, understanding their purpose, leading with heart, and showing self-discipline. A study showed that employees’ view of authentic leadership had the distinction of being the most emphatic single predictor of work happiness, organizational commitment, and job satisfaction. The benefits range beyond that of those being led. A stronger feeling of personal well-being is correlated with authentic behavior.
Own Your Story
Introspective reflection is vital for adopting an authenticity strategy. Leaders should explore their own life stories to help them define their purposes. Crafting a unique narrative is part of this. Leaders need to own their own stories. Every leader’s narrative should distinctly reveal how they were able to defeat challenges and overcome barriers using their unique strengths, values, and skills to create a strong future for themselves.
Ask for Feedback
Another critical part of authentic leadership is feedback. One of the most difficult things for leaders to manage is understanding how others see them. This is often distinctly different than how they desire to be seen. It may be a challenge, and one that is sometimes demoralizing, but leaders need to ask their colleagues, friends, and subordinates to give honest feedback about the leadership style and skills they display. Informal meetings accomplish this.
Ignoring boundaries and sharing excessively are two examples of things leaders should not do when pursuing a model of authenticity. Leaders should focus more on being open about themselves as human beings, granting context and familiarity to their employees, and less on transparency about specific issues. Boundaries are an important part of the social construct and not to be neglected by authentic leaders.
Authentic leadership is inspiring and compelling, but it lacks the ability to solve every situation. Issues may arise when leaders’ values lack alignment with the organizations they are part of. Another potential problem is stagnating decision making due to the constant pursuit of external feedback. Neither is authenticity an excuse for being single-minded or disrespectful. Authentic leaders and courageous leaders are two names for one state of leadership. As a management style, authenticity is effective and engaging.