Understand the components of authentic leadership and how they inspire trust.
More and more, authentic leadership is becoming the standard for good leaders in today’s business landscape. Leading with authenticity means being genuine and establishing a bond of trust with followers.
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What is the Point of Authentic Leadership?
We live in an ever-changing world. New technology, increasing market demands, and constant competition create new challenges for businesses every day, and these challenges generate much stress for employees. When surrounded by chaos, people look for something solid to anchor themselves—authentic leaders provide the anchor for their followers.
When your leadership is authentic, it is based on who you are as a person: your values, your goals, and your commitment to success. These qualities remain the same regardless of changes in your environment and provide a stable base of support to your followers.
Authentic Leadership Focuses On…
- Be open and honest about what is going on in the company and your honest feelings and concerns. People sense a leader who is trying to sell the company story. Be clear on what you expect of yourself and your followers, and what you will provide for them in return. When we delver on what people expect we build trust.
- Understand who you are at the core of your being and be true to yourself. This gives permission for others to be true to themselves. As an authentic leader, every decision you make should align with your values.
- Accept that everyone feels things differently and allow people to process situations at different speeds and with different expectations. Understand how your actions as a leader affect the people around you and consider that. Show your followers that you care about their wellbeing by making decisions with them in mind.
- Authentic leaders are not copycats; they make decisions based on their knowledge and experiences. It is not enough to mimic another leader’s style; you must develop a leadership style that is true to yourself. When leaders value originality connected to a sense of belonging they create inclusive teams. Valuing diversity of others starts by authentically valuing your uniqueness.
- Lead by example. If you want to see certain behaviors in your followers, exhibit those behaviors in your leadership. “Do as I say, not as I do,” is ingenuine and ineffective; it does not inspire trust in you or your ability to lead.
- Authentic leaders look at challenges with curiosity rather than balking at the unknown. When you embrace curiosity by asking questions, investigating different options, and even using some trial and error, you can find a good solution rather than making a snap judgement. Authentic leaders do not need to have all the answers all the time because their followers can trust that they will be supported through times of uncertainty.
Why is Authentic Leadership Important?
Authentic leadership focuses on the relationship between leaders and their followers, and trust is at the heart of those relationships. Charisma and professional ability are beneficial, but they are not enough. Authentic leaders inspire confidence in their followers because their actions consistently align with who they are—there are no curveballs. When followers know what they can expect from leaders, they are more likely to trust them to make the right decisions.
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Benefits of Authentic Leadership
- Authentic leaders inspire authenticity in their followers. Followers will be open with honest leaders, which encourages a greater understanding of who they are and their role in the company. Followers will act by their values and be more transparent in their interactions with leaders and coworkers. This creates a strong team culture.
- Authentic leadership is highly effective regardless of context. This means that authentic leaders are equipped to handle challenges, even in times of great uncertainty. No matter what changes around them, authentic leaders remain true to their values—this allows them to make effective choices rather than reactive responses when faced with challenges.
- When followers and leaders are authentic, they feel a stronger connection to their work because it aligns with their values. This is a much more sustainable way to engage in the workplace because it comes from within, making it less likely to be affected by outside forces like stress. Teams who understand themselves and each other work together more effectively toward shared goals. (Check out our professional superpowers blog to learn more)