8 Steps to Authentic Leadership

Posted by

Lynne Callister

on 04 Aug 2022


Authenticity requires leaders to be true to themselves, regardless of the situation. However, that's not as easy as it sounds, so here are some tips to help!

8 Steps to Authentic Leadership

Difficult situations and the idealised views of others can sometimes make it tough for leaders to live up to expectations and earn genuine respect.

Authentic leadership top tips

1. Develop self-awareness

2. Find a good role model

3. Seek a mentor

4. Reach out & form a connection with people

5. Be discreet

6. Encourage colleagues to be authentic

7. Play to your strengths

8. Get regular feedback

Authenticity creates trust. People view leaders who act authentically as more charismatic and compelling. They foster goodwill and command respect. So how can you display authenticity?

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1. Develop self-awareness

Self-awareness is fundamental to being authentic. Get to know your strengths and weaknesses (you can't be good at everything, so be honest with yourself).

What motivates you? What values are most important to you? For example, maybe you value honesty, patience, integrity, discipline, determination, humility, gratitude, or compassion. Be sure to always act professionally.

2. Find a good role model

Having a role model who behaves authentically can be invaluable - you can watch how they react to situations genuinely and incorporate this into your leadership style. It is important to have someone to look up to and on whom you can model your behaviour.

3. Seek a mentor

Look for someone with whom you identify and can be yourself with. Compare how you behave with them to times when your behaviour seems inauthentic and work out how to close that gap.

4. Reach out & form a connection with people

Be sincere and try to form genuine connections with others. Take time to find out what makes them tick and get to know them. Avoid 'spin'. Genuinely showing interest in people goes a long way in forming a connection. Find common ground and listen to what people have to say. 

People appreciate being heard and respect leaders who take the time to get to know them. This dynamic breeds trust and confidence in the leader.

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5. Be discreet

Avoid revealing too much personal information; consider whether it's relevant and if it helps others understand your decision or values first; otherwise, you may be seen as too self-centred, unsuitable for management and therefore lose respect.

6. Encourage colleagues to be authentic

Let your team know that you value their input and encourage them to speak up. When people feel comfortable enough to be open and know that their opinions are heard in the workplace, they are receptive to leadership. 

7. Play to your strengths

Some leaders are better at improving morale, some are ruthless when tough decisions need be made, and others are adept at improving productivity. Work to your strengths and get help to cover any weaknesses.

8. Get regular feedback

Find out how your colleagues perceive you. Do you come across as aloof or too introverted? It's useful to know how others see you. But remember being authentic doesn't guarantee popularity!

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