| All who read
This month we are discussing Authentic Leaders. Authentic Leaders
have mastered three key skills: clear vision, formulating sound
strategies and finding approaches that inspire others to act.
To join this elite club, you must align people around a common
purpose and set of values. As they perform at peak levels, theyll
know precisely whats expected of them.
Have a super month.
| In Search of Authentic
Employees at all organizational levels seek meaning and
fulfillment at work. Most are willing to work hard for authentic,
Sadly, employee morale is at an all-time low. A 2013 Gallup poll
found that only 13% of employees worldwide are engaged at work and
psychologically committed to their jobs.
People are not easily fooled or quick to offer their loyalty, which
explains why inauthentic leaders struggle to hire and retain exceptional
Authentic leaders have mastered three key skills: clear vision,
formulating sound strategies and finding approaches that inspire
others to act. To join this elite club, you must align people around
a common purpose and set of values. As they perform at peak levels,
theyll know precisely whats expected of them.
| Three Problems with Authenticity
While virtually every leader has a sense of what authenticity
means, few know how to develop it as a skill. To complicate matters,
being authentic in todays rapidly evolving global marketplace
has its share of challenges.
A too-rigid view of oneself can be an obstacle to leading effectively.
Three common leadership pitfalls include:
1. Being true to yourself. Which self? Depending on your
role and the context, you show up differently. You grow and shift
with experience and evolve into new roles. How can you be authentic
to a future self that is uncertain and unformed?
2. Maintaining strict coherence between what you feel and what
you say or do. You lose credibility as a leader if you disclose
everything you think and feel, especially when youre unproven.
3. Making values-based decisions. When you move into a bigger
role, values shaped by past experiences can misguide you. In the
face of new challenges, old decisions may produce authentic, but
wrong, behaviors that fail to suit new situations.
The journey to authentic leadership begins with understanding your
life story, which provides a context for your experiences. Your story
is powered by experiences that can help you inspire others and influence
them to follow your lead.
That said, life stories are not always pretty. While most of us
can reframe negative experiences in a positive light, authenticity
requires us to face up to our mistakes and failures. An honest appraisal
may prove uncomfortable, but its necessary for self-improvement.
It also paves the way for authenticity and resilience.
| Practice Your Values
The values that form the basis for authentic leadership are derived
from your beliefs and convictions, but you cannot truly know them
until theyre tested under pressure.
Leadership principles are values translated into action. Without
action that supports your stated values, you cannot be authentic.
The hard decisions you make reflect what you truly value.
| Balance Your Extrinsic and Intrinsic
If youre like most leaders, you may be reluctant to admit
that you measure your success against the outside worlds parameters.
You enjoy the recognition and status that come with promotions and
But intrinsic motivations are derived from your lifes meaning
and purpose. Theyre closely linked to your life story and
how you frame it (i.e., personal growth, helping other people develop,
social causes, making a difference in the world).
Authenticity requires you to balance your desire for external validation
with the intrinsic motivations that provide fulfillment at work.
Authentic leaders build extraordinary support teams to help them
stay on course. Team members provide counsel in times of uncertainty,
offer extra assistance in difficult times and share in celebrations
Support teams consist of spouses and families, close friends and
colleagues, and mentors and coaches. Leaders must give as much to
their supporters as they receive from them. Only then can mutually
beneficial relationships develop.
| Develop as an Authentic
Your Development as an Authentic Leader (Harvard
Business Review, February 2007), Bill George, Peter Sims,
Andrew N. McLean and Diana Mayer urge leaders to ask themselves
the following questions:
Authentic leaders demonstrate a passion for their purpose, practice
their values consistently, and lead with their hearts and heads. They
establish long-term, meaningful relationships and have the self-discipline
to get results. They know who they are.
- Which people and experiences in your early life had the
greatest impact on you?
- Which tools do you use to become self-aware?
What is your authentic self?
In which moments do you say to yourself, This is the real
- Name your most deeply held values.
Where did they come from?
Have your values changed significantly since your childhood?
How do your values inform your actions?
- What motivates you extrinsically?
What are your intrinsic motivations?
How do you balance extrinsic and intrinsic motivations?
- What kind of support team do you have?
How can your support team make you a more authentic leader?
How should you diversify your team to broaden your perspective?
- Is your life integrated? Are you able to be the same
person in all aspects of your life (personal, work, family and
community)? If not, what’s holding you back?
- What does authenticity mean in your life? Are you
a more effective leader when you behave authentically? Have
you ever paid a price for your authenticity? Was it worth it?
- What steps can you take today, tomorrow and over the next
year to develop authentic leadership?
Ultimately, superior results over a sustained period make for an
authentic leader. It may be possible to drive short-term outcomes
without being authentic, but authentic leadership is the only way
we know to create sustainable long-term results.
We are approaching the half way
point of 2015. Are you half to achieving your 2015 goals and objectives?
I hope you are finding a way to celebrate your wins and your victories.
I really appreciate all the referrals I have been getting. Let
me know how I can help you achieve your 2015 goals.
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