READ TIME – 5 MINUTES
Whether you’ve recently received a leadership promotion or you’ve been the head of the team for some time, it is essential that you understand what type of leader you are.
There are many ways that you can lead a team. Common attributes associated with strong leadership include being confident, motivating and insistent.
But have you considered being authentic?
Whilst Authentic Leadership is not a new concept, having roots implanted in Ancient Greek culture, it is a leadership style that has gained popularity in recent years.
In this blog, we will explain what authentic leadership is and why you should consider being an authentic leader from this point on.
What is Authentic Leadership?
“A type of leadership that assumes leaders should act honestly and transparently and in ways that are true to themselves”
When deciding which leadership style suits you best, it is vital to decipher the core characteristics and traits that you will exhibit as a leader.
Authentic leadership is a leadership style exhibited by individuals with integrity, transparency and legitimacy.
One of the defining factors of authentic leadership is the motivation behind it. Authentic leaders strive to create meaningful relationships with those around them as they work towards a common goal.
Authentic leaders are sincere. They have strong morals that help them make decisions that benefit the majority. They must possess the ability to be genuine and stay true to themselves, no matter the scenario.
An authentic leader’s approach can massively impact how employees regard you as a leader.
Why is Authentic Leadership Important?
It Encourages Communication
Communication is one of the cornerstone features of any business. You need to communicate your points with your employees, and it is essential that they feel like they can raise concerns with you should they need to. Communication helps bring everybody onto the same page, and it all stems from the leader.
It Boosts Morale and Develops a Strong Company Culture
According to a study in the Leadership and Organization Development Journal, an employee’s view of authentic leadership serves as the strongest predictor of job satisfaction and positively impacts work-related attitudes and happiness. By showing your employees that you care about them, their role and their wellbeing, you will create a culture where they can thrive.
It Boosts Productivity
Happy employees are the best employees. If you’ve followed the previous steps and used your authentic leadership skills to create a thriving culture, you will see increased results. Employees who feel they’re being listened to and that their voices matter are more likely to align themselves with your vision and work harder towards the common goal.
The Characteristics of an Authentic Leader
Strong leaders are committed to bettering themselves. Becoming authentic requires you to focus on improving yourself before you can help others shine.
Investing time into personal growth will go a long way to helping others develop themselves. Consider taking a training course or investing in some Leadership Training to help you feel more confident in your leadership role.
Authentic leaders are disciplined, determined and reliable. To be a successful leader, you must do more than build self-awareness and put your development into practice. It’s all well and good to help others complete their tasks, but you should ensure that you’re still doing yours!
Try checking in with yourself as you complete daily tasks to ensure you remain on track and focused on your goals.
Good leaders also value relationships and are great at listing. They understand that goals cannot be achieved without teamwork and they thrive most when they trust in others and others trust in them.
They also offer solid and encouraging advice but understand when to take pointers from others. Don’t worry about colleague feedback – they likely have your best interests at heart.
How To Practice Authentic Leadership
- Be Self-Aware
It’s extremely difficult to be a great leader if you’re unsure who you are and how you work. Being aware of your strengths and the areas that require development helps you become more authentic. There are several ways that you can practice self-awareness. Asking for feedback, keeping a journal and reflecting upon successes are fantastic ways to develop yourself as a leader.
- Be the Example
The best leaders, naturally, lead by example. They set the tone for what they want others to do. Putting your beliefs into practice and showing others your way, rather than just telling them, will increase the likelihood that they buy into you as a leader.
- Show Emotional Intelligence
Authentic leaders are familiar with emotional intelligence. Understanding your and others’ emotions is one of the first things any aspiring leader should learn about. Understanding emotions helps you build relationships with all colleagues, as well as become more resilient to negativity. Showing empathy, patience and understanding sets a positive example that others can follow.
- Fine-tune Your Communication Skills
To accompany your new-found emotional intelligence, you should work on your communication to become a great authentic leader. Think about how you can become a better listener and offer constructive feedback. Authentic leaders can communicate their points in written and verbal form and respond rapidly to any situation.
Become An Authentic Leader
Authentic leadership requires you to be understanding, adaptable and approachable. You should lead by example and always consider the needs of your team.
If you’re still discovering your leadership style and think authentic leadership is the path forward for you, hopefully, you now feel more empowered to progress in your leadership career.
Whilst it will require lots of time, effort and work, becoming an authentic leader will reap many rewards should you commit yourself to it.