Authenticity and why’s it’s important as a leader

16th July 2018

Over the last couple of months I’ve been working with a couple of great people, who have been helping me to refresh and redirect my business. I’d been noticing, in the last couple of years, that I was feeling a disconnect with the work that I was doing. And was feeling that I wanted to get back to doing more of what I love in a way that felt “authentic” and true to me and my values.

In all my coaching and therapy training, there is a huge focus on ‘bringing your authentic self’ to the coaching/therapeutic relationship and there’s quite a lot being written currently around ‘authentic leadership.’ Whilst I’m familiar with the term, I think it’s been only recently that I’ve reallyunderstood what it means.

When I first started my own business, nearly 20 years ago the general consensus was that it wasn’t considered acceptable to admit that you worked from home or that you were a sole trader. How the world has changed! I remember stressing over writing content and messages that sounded ‘professional’ and ‘corporate.’ I guess I was fooling no one as I was trying to be something that I wasn’t, assuming that people wouldn’t buy me. It didn’t feel safe or OK to just be myself. Being myself wasn’t enough.

The whole process of revamping my website and thinking about what I am trying to achieve with my business, has ‘forced’ me to think about what I REALLY want and what do I want to be known for.

I’ve come across a lot of leaders and senior people in the corporate world who feel that they have a façade that they need to uphold. Like I did they feel that they can’t just be themselves. They build a façade to mask their insecurities and they present a persona that is what they think others or even the organisation expects.

It’s not them being who they really are….it’s not authentic….and you know what….others can smell a rat a mile off!! Others just know that we’re not being authentic.

So what is authenticity? Authenticity is being true to yourself. It’s about being yourself and acting according to what is important to you.

Why is authentic leadership even a thing?

Authentic leaders build connection. Authentic leaders aren’t afraid to admit what they are really thinking. They’re strong but humble. They’re thoughtful and compassionate. They’re focused but understated. Maybe it’s just that they just show their humanness. And there’s something about seeing someone else’s humanity that helps to build a connection with others. People feel trusted, respected and valued – essential characteristics for high performing teams. A truly authentic leader understands that it is not about what they say but who they are. When you are able to fully cultivate authenticity, it is then that people trust, listen to and follow you.

It can feel scary to ‘be yourself’ and put yourself out there, but if you’re a leader it’s an essential part of building a great team. If you’re working in the corporate world and any of this resonates, let’s talk. I can work with you to help you find ways of developing a leadership style that builds connection and performance….while staying true to who you are and what you stand for!