Authentic leadership is much more than another leadership style – after all what is leadership if it is not the ability to inspire others to follow you? Authentic leadership is about being true to yourself and bringing your true you to your leadership role. It offers the possibility of being both a fulfilled and effective leader.
What is Authentic Leadership?
One of the qualities of a good leader is that they form a connection with others. If others are to voluntarily follow you they need to get to know you. Authentic leaders allow others to see their true self rather than just a public face that they have created for their leadership role.
Whilst it is possible to learn lots of leadership skills and adopt your favourite leadership model, charismatic leadership is only likely to emerge when you bring more of yourself to your leadership role.
Building trust is another of the many qualities of an effective leader. A predictable and consistent approach is essential if you are to build and maintain trust. If you base your approach on your own values, you will find that being consistent is not only much easier, but its authenticity and sincerity will shine through and be noticed by others in the things that you say and do.
As you can begin to see, in order to be an authentic leader you need to get to know yourself and your values – to become self-aware. Being in touch with who you really are and accepting yourself as you are, frees you to show yourself more to others. As a result you will build your own unique authentic leadership style.
Effective leadership development is likely to include an element of leadership coaching. Coaching creates the space for a leader to reflect on themselves and their leadership style. Developing self-awareness, using appropriate processes such as coaching, is essential if you are to become an authentic leader.
Most well-known inspirational leaders bring their true selves to their role – maybe you can think of some? They are much the same person outside of work and at work. The values they hold dear drive their lives and their leadership and the boundary between life and work is blurred.
You too can be happy and effective in your leadership role – by getting to know yourself and your values – and letting others get to know them both too. Not only will you be a more effective leader over the long term, but life will be happier and easier at the same time.
Learn more about Authentic Leadership, the benefits for you, your organisation and the people that work in it in Andy’s book “Understanding Authentic Leadership – Leading with the true you“.