An interesting title…What is leadership with Authenticity?
Well, let’s discover…first of all let’s break it down; we will start out by talking about leadership.
Is leadership telling people what they want to hear to keep them going the direction you think they should go? Or is leadership just taking flight and hoping that people follow? Wikipedia defines it as “a process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task…”
Leadership is a big responsibility but it is also something that a person needs to do with finesse. If everyone is going one direction and you decide to change the course dramatically, this can be very painful.
I try to think of it as if you are steering a large passenger liner at full speed ahead. It takes a lot to turn the ship of that size and if you turn too abruptly there are huge consequences. There would be chaos because people don’t know what is happening, what to do or what to expect. If people are in the wrong place it could be catastrophic for them. They would be unprepared and they might fall off the ship, along with valuable cargo… and then there goes your crew!
If this is the intention then you have accomplished the goal but usually it takes a lot to get the ship right again and sometimes it is impossible. So remember, changing course abruptly is not a good practice when steering a ship or when running a business.
Let’s bring Authenticity into the picture…What is Authenticity?
Again, I refer back to Wikipedia for a definition: It is “a particular way of dealing with the external world, being faithful to internal rather than external ideas.“
So authenticity means to uncover your true self. “We live in a culture that is starving for authenticity. We want our leaders, co-workers, friends, family members, and everyone else that we interact with to tell us the truth and to be themselves. Most important, we want to have the personal freedom and confidence to say, do and be who we really are, without worrying about how we appear to others and what they might think or say about us.” (Mike Robbins)
Sadly, however, even though we may say we want to live in a way that is true to our deepest passions, beliefs, and desires, most of us don’t. WHY? Starting at a very early age, we are taught by our parents, spouses, teachers, friends, co-workers, politicians and the media that it’s more important to be liked and to fit in than it is to be who we truly are. In addition, many of us assume that who we are is not good enough and therefore we’re constantly trying to fix ourselves or to act like others who we think are better than us.
Oscar Wilde…a famous author and poet said… “Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.” To me this summarizes authenticity.
Bringing the two together is an art and a process that you develop along the way. I believe that the most successful leaders are the ones that are authentic. We are all unique and so our styles differ but if the basic foundation is Authenticity or being Real, that is a fantastic start. How you go about enlisting the aid and support of others is more effective when you do it in your style. Have fun! Lead with Authenticity.