Overview

Leadership is a highly valued commodity in today's society. Authenticity in leadership has recently gained a lot of traction in the business scene, as exhibited through popular media and the numerous leadership training options that are now available.

Having authenticity means that leaders are genuine, honest, and that their actions reflect who they truly are. Authentic leaders bring their whole selves to work while still being influential and inspiring. At its core, it means that leaders remain true to themselves, and their beliefs and values, throughout any situation or challenge they face.

This authenticity is essential for great leadership because it brings leaders closer to those they lead—it creates a bond between them based on trust. This connection results in more open communication between the leader and employees, ultimately benefiting everyone involved.

The Central Component of Authenticity in Leadership Is Genuineness

All authentic leaders are different, with varying backgrounds, insights, opinions, and experiences. This inconsistency means that they all have their own individual authenticity. But, of course, they also have many things in common as well—they are dependable and display sincerity in their words and actions.

As authentic leaders, they practice authenticity in all aspects of leadership, including communicating with followers, assigning tasks to others, and spending time with employees their employees. Being an authentic leader also requires having awareness about oneself and how one's behavior impacts others.

Key Traits of Authenticity in Leadership

Authentic leaders are consistent and display sincerity in their words and actions. They are also transparent since they have nothing to hide from those they lead.

Another essential trait is the ability to be self-aware, or to have a clear understanding of who they are and how their personality impacts others. Authentic leaders also learn from their experiences and remember what it's like to be at the bottom rung on the ladder versus talking down to those they lead.

Another common trait is reliability. Authenticity in leadership means that leaders are authentic 24/7, not just some of the time. At the end of the day, authenticity is an ongoing journey; it's not something that leaders can check off their list and label themselves. It takes hard work and an understanding of how their leadership style and presence impacts those they lead.

Lastly, authentic leaders display honesty. Honesty is an extremely important trait because authenticity hinges on trust and communication. Authentic leaders are able to communicate effectively and demonstrate the truthfulness that they believe their followers deserve.

Authentic Leaders Aren't Perfect

An authentic leader is not perfect—they make mistakes, have regrets, and share their followers' successes and failures. However, a key component is to remain true to yourself at the end of the day, even if you make mistakes. Authentic leaders can admit when they've done something wrong, take responsibility for their actions, and learn from their experiences moving forward.

Authentic leaders lead people by having a sense of self-awareness, identity, honesty, and passion. They constantly seek authenticity in their leadership approach because candidness brings them closer to their followers and creates a bond based on trust.

How to Be Authentic

To be an authentic leader, individuals need to possess legitimacy in all aspects of leadership: communicating with followers, assigning tasks to others, and spending time with employees.

Being authentic requires accuracy not only in communicating, both to one's followers and oneself. It is not too tricky to find truth itself—it involves being honest about who you are and how your words and actions affect others. Authentic leaders lead people by demonstrating the authenticity of self through all their words and actions.

Leaders must take an interest in others and see who they are as a person. It helps to discover what makes you and your employees unique as people, such as hobbies and interests outside of work. This allows for a connection at work because you can bring those personal interactions into the office and vice versa.

Authenticity in Leadership as an Entrepreneur

Authentic leadership is something that entrepreneurs can use because it helps to create an atmosphere that results in open communication, leading to greater success for everyone.

For entrepreneurs who have a particular vision, authenticity allows them to practice leadership by sharing their knowledge about the industry and being honest with followers. In addition, entrepreneurs are often role models for their employees and can provide guidance and support, so truthfulness is critical.

In addition, it enables leaders to lead people by example—being a role model for one's followers and bringing authenticity into all aspects of leadership.

How Employees Respond to Authentic Leaders

Leaders who are authentic with their employees can inspire them to achieve great things. They help people feel safe, which encourages loyalty and honesty in return. Employees look for authenticity when choosing a leader because they want someone who is genuine and who will lead by example. They also appreciate morality—so authenticity in communication with employees is crucial.

Authenticity in leadership inspires followers to put more effort into their work and be more engaged. If you can remain authentic during work, your employees can bring their whole self to work while still being effective, productive, and engaged.

In fact, there have been several findings that authenticity in leaders has a positive effect on follower attitudes and behaviors. Authentic leaders result in more favorable attitudes among followers compared to inauthentic leaders. Such practicality strongly reduces the negative moods of followers, and consequently, it is accompanied by more positive communication between leaders and their followers.

How to Avoid Appearing Deceptive

If there are inconsistencies in your leadership approach, employees may believe that you are acting disingenuous. Authentic leaders are always themselves and avoid appearing fake or deceptive, which can result in an inability to connect with followers.

Authentic leaders must remember that every action has a consequence. It may seem like authenticity does not require much effort, but it requires free communication and the ability to identify with your employees. Self-awareness is key when forming a connection with others.

Whether to act or speak can often be the difference between authenticity and inauthenticity. Employees are not the only ones who look for authenticity in leaders; it is also important when your stakeholders want you to present something. Therefore, authenticity should always be used when communicating with employees and others involved in your business.

Authentic leadership is a way of being, not a technique that leaders must learn and practice.

Act like a Human Being

Authenticity should help you be more approachable. It shows that leadership comes from the inside, not the outside. It's an ability that each individual has within themselves to be open.

Authenticity in leadership boils down to is authenticity of self through all your words and actions. If it’s practiced, followers know that they can trust you to be who you say you are.

Your authenticity lies within the individual self rather than how you think you should appear to others. By being authentic at all times, you will help your employees feel secure, more at ease, and empowered. Authentic leadership helps leaders practice authenticity in both the words they use and their actions.

You don't have to act like a head-strong extrovert if that's not who you are deep down. People can sense when you're not being real. If you're nervous about showing your true self, remember that you can be successful, especially if you act like yourself.

Respond to Feedback

One of the best ways to practice authenticity in leadership is by accepting feedback. Feedback from your employees and other stakeholders can be a great way to learn about your leadership techniques and business because it provides you with an opportunity to share what's going on in the inside.

Remember, authenticity is more than just what you say—it's how you act towards others and yourself. If your employees aren't happy or feel like you can improve something, it's important to value their input.  Authentic leaders respond to feedback and take it into account when dealing with new problems.

How to Stay Authentic Everyday

Being authentic doesn't mean being so lax that you can't tell the difference between a good idea and a bad one. Authentic leaders have truth in their values, behaviors, motives, and words. If you're being authentic, leadership shouldn't change who you are. Remember that you are on a journey with your employees and that you have come together to grow and learn from each other.

Authenticity in leadership takes a lot of work to maintain, but you can do it if you remain honest with yourself at all times. It's okay to adjust your approach if something isn't working or add something new into the mix.

Conclusion

If you're unsure whether authenticity is something that you can work on, know that authenticity is a destination. As long as you are working towards authenticity, your employees will feel inspired and enthusiastic to follow your lead. Remember, authenticity in leadership is most effective when it's focused around bringing your whole self to work instead of acting like someone who is a stranger.

Authenticity of leadership is something that many people are searching for in today's world. If you take the lead as an honest, open employer, your employees will give you their best.

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