Why Authentic Leadership Matters

We live and work in a world packed with so much information, we exhaust ourselves trying to separate fact from fiction. So, when it comes to our leaders and influencers, we want direction and guidance that is simple, clear and honest.

According to The Leadership ChallengeSixth Edition, based on 3 decades of research and more than 1.3 million employee surveys worldwide, honesty (interchangeable with authenticity and integrity) continue to be the #1 characteristic employees seek in their leaders. Additionally, authentic leaders deliver 5x more for their organizations.

So what makes an authentic leader?

Authenticity begins at home. It begins with self-leadership defined as having the ability to lead yourself. The best way to do this is to identify a set of personal core values for yourself and then live them in all you do and say.

Core values are aspirational. They are what you envision your best self to be, which will be unique for each of us. That’s good news. As we all bring our best selves to the table, we highlight different aspects of what being the best means. What a wonderful way to create diversity and inclusion!

Your core values are your navigational tool in life and at work. They guide you to ways of thinking, being and action. They are especially useful during times of stress and conflict when your habit may be to do what’s expedient rather than what’s best. When you rely on your core values to guide you, you demonstrate the stability, reliability, calm and clarity that is reassuring to others as well as yourself. As a leader or influencer, I can’t think of anything more important in a moment of crisis.

Since authentic leaders know what their core values are, they are curious about the core values of others. They understand that a values conversation is a way to find common ground not only with team members but also with the organization’s values. 

Authentic leaders understand that if you can tap into someone’s core values; to what is intrinsically important to them, and find a way to connect it to the task at hand, you will have engagement as you’ve never seen before. And it will be authentic engagement. People are motivated by what is important to them. If you are interested enough to ask them and then to help them to make the connection at work, you have led them well.

Authentic leaders care about others because they care enough about themselves to do the inner work needed to show up as a whole, integrated person. They are aware of their flaws and weaknesses which means they can understand and accept the flaws and weaknesses of others.

They are confident and clear about the choice to let our core values guide our highest thoughts, words and actions every moment of every day. They remind us of this choice and communicate it often.

In a business and world environment constantly in flux, authentic leaders know that consistency wins the race. Isn’t it nice to know that core values are something we can depend on to confidently and courageously lead our lives and help others lead theirs too?

Want to discover what your core values are? Try this free core values worksheet.

Jo-Aynne von Born, Level 10 Mindset Coaching, Workshops, Keynote Speaker

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