In John C Maxwell’s book, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, he talks about the Law of the Picture. This law says that “people do what people see.”
When I think about the role of authenticity in leadership this law immediately comes to mind. When what we say matches what we do our leadership is more effective and quite frankly easier.
Truthfully, ‘easier’ is not the same as ‘easy’. Step one of authentic leadership is to be true to ourselves, this increases the congruence between our words and our actions. The next step is to add intentional personal growth.
Clearly this will take effort and time so what are the benefits of authentic leadership. As authentic leaders we are more likely to have people around us who are engaged in the work. Productivity will be higher, and the work environment will be more positive.
The good news is that authenticity is a leadership skill and skills can be developed with intentional effort.
5 Tips to Become an Authentic Leader:
- Cultivate Self-Awareness. Be aware of your strengths, weaknesses, blind spots, values, and purpose.
- Play to Your Strengths. Stay in your strength area and develop your team to include strengths you do not possess.
- Seek Feedback. Welcome feedback – informal and formal. Be intentional in seeking information that allow you to close the gap between your own perception and others’ feedback.
- Learn to Connect. Form genuine connections with people – listen and ask questions with the goal to first know them as individuals and then to understand their work.
- Model the Behavior You Want to See. This takes us back to The Law of the Picture – do what you desire others to do.
“Authentic leadership is at the root of cultures of great innovation, engagement, outstanding client experiences, and growth.”
— Henna Inam