What is authentic leadership?
I have been working with leaders for over 20 years, and while being authentic involves many things, I now believe there are some areas of utmost importance and priority:
1) You must be someone who leads your teams, but also one who occasionally steps out of work mode and appropriately reveals yourself to your employees
2) You are willing to not always be the hero, and you put your foot down and make the hard decisions when needed, even if for a while or maybe even forever – there are those who resent what you did and do not like you
3) You are constantly working on your own issues and looking at your own blocks to personal and professional total fulfillment and happiness
How do you fulfill these things?
1) I think leaders need one or two people by their side that they work with, who they can be totally and completely themselves with – these are the people that see the good, the bad, the light and the dark. These are the people you have total trust in, that you confide in, and that you consider people you are passing your knowledge to every day so they can run things if you need to bow out.
2) Leaders need a small circle of personal relationships that know who they really are and that they can relax and totally be themselves with. Run things by these people before you make decisions or take important actions.
3) Leaders need to consistently be willing to look at themselves and work on their personal and professional problematic issues. This could mean taking seminars, going to therapy, hiring life coaches, reading self-help books, and here’s the most important one…
4) You must be willing to accept honest feedback about what is working and what is not working in your life from people who have your best interests at heart. If you stop receiving regular feedback, you can be stuck and not even know it.
5) When it comes down to what to do, in the end, trust your own intuition and the leading of the God of your understanding. While feedback is valuable, when it comes right down to taking action in a certain area, check in with how you feel and how your insides feel about it. While it won’t happen often, there will be times you need to go in a totally different direction than the feedback you’ve received, or… you need to only accept part of the feedback and go partially in a direction that is your own. As the leader, you ultimately have to go with how you are being led to affect change and lead an organization.