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Entries from December 2017

Authentic leadership – What does it mean?

20th December 2017


The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.” C G Jung

We often hear it talked about but do we truly know what authenticity means? Particularly within the context of leadership in the workplace?

To be an authentic leader you have to be true to yourself. If you’re pretending to be someone different in the workplace than at home, you will eventually get found out. No-one can keep up a fake façade forever. If you don’t believe in who you truly are, why would anyone else?

Your team and stakeholders are watching you all of the time. There is no down time as a leader, so wearing a mask that is not you can be wearing and it’s likely to slip now and again.

How are you showing up as a leader?

Are you being true to who you are?

Here are some of the key qualities I think authentic leaders should model. How do you stack up against them? Are you being the best that you can be?

Integrity and Honesty

 This is the foundation of every great authentic leader. Without integrity you have nothing. If you’re not honest and genuine no-one is going to want to be led by you. Don’t be afraid to show your vulnerabilities. We all have them so why hide them. It show’s your team you’re no different to them and confident of your identity.

Impact and Inspiration

 All great leaders want to have a positive impact and inspire others. The impact you make determines how your team perceive you and how far they’re willing to go to realise team goals and objectives. The sad truth is we often don’t take time out to understand the impact we are having. We may have the best intentions but if our impact doesn’t align with these we are not going to take people with us. Inspiration can take on many guises. So be clear about who your audience is and what might inspire them.

Positive Attitude

 Attitude is everything. Who is going to want to work hard for a miserable, grumpy, unappreciative leader? Yes, we all have our moods, we wouldn’t be human if we didn’t. However, when you’re a leader you have to play down your moods to some extent and make sure you come to work with a positive attitude. Be consistent, even if it seems like everything is going wrong. Your team are depending on you to keep up the momentum.

Authentic Communication

Communication is the key to pretty much everything in life. We all react differently and we all interpret things through our own filters. Find a style that works for you and flex this so you can engage others. Teams work best with honest, open communication even when it’s bad news. Panic, worry or anxiety doesn’t help anyone, as others will pick up on this   Remain calm in a crisis and be open – if you’re not sure what to do next say so.

When things go wrong, focus on the positives of the situation rather than the negatives. Seek out that silver lining!

If you’re true to these basic character traits your team will respond favourably. Faking it doesn’t work for anyone, in any circumstance. The truth will always come back to bite you in the behind. Start as you mean to go on and your team will flourish under your authentic leadership!

“What you get in your life is not a result of what you want, it is a result of Who You Are.”

Marlon Smith



Are you a Chameleon or a ‘True to Selfer’ type of Leader?

6th December 2017

Authentic Leadership

Are you a chameleon or a ‘true to selfer’ type of leader?

This is not a trick question. If you answered a ‘true to selfer’ than that is great news. It say’s that you are clear about who you are as a person and not trying to be someone you are not.

You’re likely to act with great personal integrity and make choices according to your values.

If you answered a chameleon then that is even better! Why do I say that? Well, it’s because you are able to adapt to your surroundings.

To be a great leader these days you have to be able to read what is going on around you and act in a way that is going to take people with you. If you walk into a room and ask “How do I need to be in this situation?” You are likely to get a better result than if you walked in without any forethought and simply reacted to what was going on around you.

Adapt and flex

This requires a degree of flexibility and you can only do this well once you are a ‘true to selfer’. It’s not about blending in so no-one can see you – which typically is what a chameleon does. It’s about blending in in style and how you behave.

For example; if you are normally a highly energetic person who takes the lead and the situation in front of you requires a more thoughtful, reflective and calm approach, you need to able to adapt and respond easily and very congruently.

Moments of conflict are the best situations to look at. Do you rush in to get your point of view across or walk away? Neither of these are great options.

Better still, do you take the time to go to where the other person is and understand their position and then discuss a way forward from there?

Being able to blend coherently is an art and requires practice, a huge degree of self awareness and awareness of others.

How can I be more like a chameleon?

To develop these skills become more playful with yourself. We have a natural tendency to criticise ourselves and beat ourselves up when we get something wrong. STOP! Instead take a playful approach and be more curious.

  • Consider some situations in the past and how you could have acted differently.
  • If there is a relationship you know needs building, consider how you can act differently.
  • If there is a regular meeting you attend and you know you have challenges with it, consider how you may show up differently.

Try it out, see what works and then adapt.

Leadership is a life long journey so keep playing and practicing.

“Adults are more likely to act their way into a new way of thinking that to think their way into a new way of thinking”

Richard Pascale

If you feel you’ve explore all your options and need some additional support email me for a free discovery call to explore how we may be able to work together.

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