What comes to your mind when we think of leaders like Nelson Mandela, Richard Branson, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, Ratan Tata, and Anand Mahindra?
Simplicity? Integrity? Ability to unite people? ability to take risks? to inspire others?
These are all authentic leaders.
An authentic leader is someone who leads with integrity. They are true to themselves and their values. They are transparent, self-aware, and consistent in their actions and communication. They also foster a positive and inclusive culture and are open to feedback and growth.
Authentic leaders are trustworthy. They are intrinsically motivated and often inspire and motivate their team /followers to achieve their goals.
Leadership is in the DNA of an authentic leader.
When a leader is not authentic, they may be able to temporarily gain the trust and respect of others, but it is not sustainable in the long term. Eventually, their lack of authenticity will be exposed, and their followers /team will lose trust and confidence in their abilities as a leader.
Additionally, their inauthentic behaviour may create a negative and toxic work environment, leading to low morale and high turnover among the team.
So how can you be an authentic leader?
The answer is quite simple. Be yourself. Follow your own values and principles, even if they may be different from others. This can help you stay true to who you are, which is the foundation of authenticity.
It is also important for you to be vulnerable. Share your own struggles and challenges, and let others see the human side of you. Honesty and transparency help people to connect with you and understand that you’re not perfect.
You must also practice what you preach, and be a role model for others. This helps inspire and motivate your team to follow your lead. Encourage open communication, constructive feedback, and transparency. This creates an environment where people feel comfortable being themselves and sharing their true thoughts and feelings.
In conclusion, it’s important to note that being authentic doesn’t mean being perfect. People respond positively to leaders who are genuine and transparent in their actions and decisions. Ultimately, the need for authentic leaders is rooted in the belief that such leaders create a more positive and productive work environment for everyone involved.
Aparna is a behavioural coach with a passion to support people who want to help themselves. She is an avid YouTube and publishes weekly videos. For more information and to reach out to her click here