When the tides are shifting, authentic leadership becomes more important than ever.
Times of change show how effective leadership teams really are. These times place extra stress and pressure on their organizations. Change can be external drivers like economic shifts, a major pandemic, or changes in your specific industry. It can also come from internal drivers like staffing changes, organizational structure changes, acquisitions, etc.
Here’s the good news. Your leadership teams can work through these problems and be highly effective but they must change the way they communicate and operate. When the world around you is changing, it takes genuine leaders who are rooted and caring to adapt and find a better way forward.
Communication is the biggest wall standing between executives and leadership teams. Sure, everyone talks and communicates but are those interactions actually transparent? We build systems to communicate and find safe ways of going through the motions to get through each day.
When leadership teams are saying what you want to hear rather than what needs to be said, authenticity is lost. Encouraging transparency in conversations is a major step toward authenticity.
Transparency doesn’t come easily, however, and it starts at the top. Being honest and open requires vulnerability. Leadership teams will not adopt transparent communication styles until their superiors demonstrate the quality themselves.
When the highest levels of leadership are transparent and vulnerable, it breaks down the barriers preventing others in leadership from doing the same.
In this video, I discuss the difference between honesty and authenticity in leadership. (Both qualities have merit.) True authenticity leans on transparency in conversations and actions. That’s what empowers individuals to share their true opinions and unique perspectives.
The old ways of doing business are fading in the new economy. Sticking to hard-line tactics creates a scenario where leadership teams fight uphill battles and burn out. Being adaptive and ready to respond to changing circumstances creates an environment where leaders can make decisions based on their experience.
Adding that flexibility means they can work harder when needed and back off to complement a better work-life balance when things slow. Trusting the individual’s ability to make productive decisions and their desire to achieve positive outcomes without punishing them for enjoying work and life creates an authentic work environment.
This might include the opportunity to work from home, work in a hybrid environment or have flexibility in the schedule to take time off when needed. The workforce is often more productive when they have positive mental health and less stress and pressure from above.
We discussed transparency which correlates closely to honesty in the recipe for a truly authentic leadership style. Transparency is just the beginning for open lines of communication, however. Being open and self-aware will also guide you and your team toward a place of empathy.
Self-awareness means you know when it’s time for a break, time to step back and view the big picture, and time to recognize where you need help. Taking that moment to seek out help from the best-fit leadership members in your organization brings everyone together by recognizing each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
I discussed Mastering Authenticity in-depth with Petra Coach (full recording here) and it’s worth watching the recording to really grasp how I view authenticity and apply it in my own life while teaching that value to other leaders. I learned the hard way and have enjoyed the freedom and success that followed once I truly opened up and adopted an authentic leadership style.
Learning to “Say No” is a major pillar in my Addictive Leadership program and it can save every single member of your leadership team 500 hours of wasted time. Saying yes when you should say no leads to time spent on unproductive tasks that could be done better.
By empowering your team through transparency, honesty, adaptability, and self-awareness, they can share unique perspectives, implement better solutions and processes, and holistically benefit from an authentic leadership style. My workshops and speaking events are the professional development tool that will help you unlock the true potential of your team. Learn more about upcoming events and schedule private workshops for your team.