3 Ways to Lead with Authenticity

Workplace leaders can add value by being authentic; authenticity triggers motivation and sets a great example for employees at the workplace. Learn more from Oyin in this article.

Every leader or aspiring leader in the workplace should know that there are different types of leadership styles. If they read two or more books from the seemingly endless library of leadership books, attend seminars, webinars, and conferences on leadership, they can observe that there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to leadership.

It can be challenging to understand what it means to be a “good” leader, whether you have just assumed a leadership role or have been managing your team for some time. We often associate good leadership with words like “assertive,” “confident,” “bold,” and “courageous,” only until recently did we start to hear the word “authentic”, being used to qualify a good leader.

Authenticity is foundational to excellent leadership. Authentic leadership involves having leaders who are sincere, self-aware, and open.  By regularly expressing who they really are as a person and how they feel about their colleagues’ performance, an authentic leader can build loyalty and trust in their workforce.  If establishing trust is the key to managing teams effectively, then authentic leaders will do the best job.

Why is authenticity so important?

People who have an authentic style of leadership bring their whole selves to work and do their jobs in a dedicated and honest way. Organisations that encourage authentic behaviour are more likely to have psychologically secure cultures and engaged, enthusiastic, motivated staff.

On the other hand, people can often tell when someone isn’t being authentic. This can be a disruptive, negative force that makes employees have less trust, and lack passion.

So how does a person lead authentically? Here are 3 ways:

  1. Know Thyself: Are you self-aware? Do you self-reflect? Do you know what emotional or behavioural triggers make you feel uncomfortable or cause unpleasant reactions? A leader who is authentic takes stock of all their choices, actions and looks at their own strengths and weaknesses with an open mind. They are aware of their unique character, strengths, and shortcomings. They work hard to face their concerns and make the best use of their talents.
  2. Review Your Idea of Who a Leader Is: The term “leadership image” refers to a broad range of factors, including official rank, physical appearance, personality, behaviour, body language, and speaking style. Simply said, your image is the idea that people have about you based on their impressions of you. A significantly successful leadership trait is revealing your personality, which increases your ability to influence others.
  3. Be Transparent: An authentic leader does not give subtle hints or complicated feedback. To encourage authenticity in its truest form, a leader must be sincere, forthright, and honest with their followers or team members.

In the end, authenticity is a leadership competency like any other. Competence can be strengthened (or weakened) over time, depending on deliberate efforts. It’s important for every leader to continuously work on maintaining their authenticity while inspiring others to deliver excellent results.