Authentic Leadership by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC

As a leader, it’s likely that you’re always looking for ways to improve your leadership skills. There are many different courses you can take, books you can read, and advice you can get from other leaders. But one of the most effective ways you’ll find to improve your leadership skills doesn’t require a class or a book. It simply requires you being yourself.

Being authentic will provide you with benefits you never imagined. Your customers will say you’re the “real deal” and will want to do business with you. Your employees will gain trust in you, which will translate to having a fierce protectiveness of you and your business. Your colleagues will respect you.

This all sounds great, but being authentic isn’t always as easy as it sounds. We all have insecurities and some sort of difficulty showing some of our deepest fears and worries. Reaching the authenticity you desire will take some time, so don’t worry if it doesn’t happen overnight. Here are some steps you can take to get started.

  • Learn to listen to others. When you really listen to what others have to say, you’ll find commonalities between you. These commonalities will provide you with opportunities to share important information that can help you create a bond. For example, you may find that you have an employee who shares a hobby you love. This could present a great opportunity for the two of you to have personal discussion or share time outside of the office. Conversely you may find a sad commonality, like both of you lost your Mothers to cancer. This shared vulnerability also creates an understanding and a bond.
  • Support causes you believe in. As you do volunteer work with organizations near and dear to your heart, you will meet like minded individuals. At the same time, others will be able to see what’s important to you, and gain respect for your values.
  • Show off what you’re proud of. Many leaders work to keep business and private life separate. But, sometimes, this makes you look cold and uncaring. Share your family life with your employees and let them see that you are as much a parent as you are a business leader.

Once you begin to be more authentic around others, you’ll likely find that you’re happier and having more fun. Knowing you can bring all of yourself to work in a positive way is good for you and everyone in your circle.