Authentic leadership


I recently read that we can define authenticity as a daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are. It got me thinking as authenticity is a very popular word nowadays. And it shows up everywhere in our lives: in our (personal) leadership, in our companies, in our social relationships and with our families.

So what does being authentic mean in all these contexts?
Synonyms of the word authentic are: being truthful, being accurate, being trustworthy. The word that stands out for me there is trust. As we need people to trust us in order to follow us.
Now how do we build trust?
Back to authenticity, in my understanding.
How do we present ourselves to the world?
Is there consistency in what we say, do and feel?
You might wonder why this consistency is so important. Research shows that 93% of our communication in non-verbal. So even if we say something that might be true, if our body language and emotions don’t communicate the same thing, what our audience will pick up is the inconsistency underneath. The part that is non-verbal. Quite a facer, in my assessment.

So how do we show ourselves in an authentic and consistent way to the world? In order to show the (personal) leadership we so want?
It all starts with self-awareness.
Becoming aware of our conversations, the set of emotions we have access to (or not!) and our physical presence in the world. Learning about ourselves, what we really want to achieve, and where we might want to work on, for the purpose of our role as a leader, being more effective.
Perhaps we need to overcome certain aspects of ourselves in service of another person or our organization.

Hint: we will need to watch being stubborn over being authentic…