Authenticity – One of Your Best Leadership Tools

Posted by on Dec 22, 2017

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Steven Levitt, co-author of the best-seller “Freakonomics,” talks about being authentic in a recent video about brands and authenticity. After getting feedback on his personal brand and speaking style, he shares why he will …

never wear a tie

never stand behind a podium, and

continue to be his bumbling self

Authenticity – One of Your Best Leadership Tools

One of your best leadership tools is your authentic self. Your overarching goal as a leader is to establish and maintain effective interactions with others. To keep your authentic self authentic, you need an ongoing process to search for ways to grow and develop yourself.

In his book, “Grounded,” our CEO Bob Rosen quotes a very successful CEO he interviewed and talks about the importance of authenticity.

“If I had to look in the mirror and grade myself on where I think I am, I’m a work in progress.” By airing personal weaknesses, you reveal your common humanity. In this way, it becomes a way of bonding and bringing people together. Paradoxically, admitting weakness makes you stronger – you reveal yourself to be honest and humane, powerful qualities in any leader.

You Can’t Fake It, But You May Have To

Being yourself and evoking natural authenticity is easy for some leaders. An easy smile, a quick one-liner, or a ready compliment seems automatic and natural, creating rapport and connection. But for many of us (ironically), we need to “fake it” until we learn to show our authentic self.

Many of us need to make conscious effort to become more self-aware. For example, say one of your weak spots is showing appreciation to others. You don’t take the time or make a regular effort to let your staff know that you truly appreciate their hard work. Appreciating your staff will take conscious effort and energy. Here are some suggestions on how to get started showing appreciation:

Take time to give and ask for thoughtful feedback.

Send things of interest to people and make time to discuss with them.

Compliment those who deserve recognition; avoid giving false praise.

View attention as a compliment; give it and receive it accordingly, not as a time waster.

Put a “learning lens” on everything you do. Think: “What can I learn from this person or this interaction that will help us both?” Not: “How can I make this person do what I want?”

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