Be Real by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC

Authenticity is one of the most important traits you can have if you want to be a truly great leader. People can spot a phony a mile away, and they don’t give these people the respect that someone who is authentic receives. Here are some tips to let down your guard and let people see the real you.

  • Admit your mistakes. We all make them, but some leaders fear that revealing theirs, believing it makes them look less competent. However, being willing to admit your mistakes will earn respect from your employees. It will also make them more likely to reveal their own mistakes, which helps with training and ensuring that business is done properly.
  • Have a life. Some business leaders fail to divulge anything about their personal lives, trying to keep work and home separate. Letting people know about your family, your hobbies, and your passions make you a real person to them, as opposed to having them believe you’re all work and no play.
  • Ask for feedback. Make sure your employees realize that you are willing to accept their feedback and their suggestions for improving the business. You might be surprised at the great innovations your employees develop when they know you care what they think. Remember that you don’t perform their individual jobs every day, so they are sure to know more about some areas than you.
  • Have fun with them. You will get your best work from employees when they feel connected to you as a person. Having fun in the office, through contests or events can strengthen the bond and make your staff like a family. This is important, especially when issues and problems arise. Make the office a fun place to be, and be sure to get in on the fun yourself.

For some leaders, the tips above seem silly, because they are already being authentic with their employees. For others, these tips will be a tall challenge because they’ve become so used to portraying themselves as a leader who is a little above everyone else. Even if you find these things difficult, give them a try and see the results in your own business. You may be surprised at how much happier and more productive your employees become. You may also notice that you’re happier when you’re able to be your whole self at work as well as at home.