It’s time to step up.
From a previous article, The Essence of Authentic Leadership, we’ve identified the 4 Key Elements in building authentic leadership within your team.
Authentic leadership theory stems from a combination of a number of leadership theories relating to charismatic, servant, spiritual, ethical, and transformational leadership. Though some attributes overlap among these theories, studies suggest that servant and transformational leadership theories are closely associated with authentic leadership theory.
As servant leadership focuses mainly on a leader’s capacity to listen to their team members, it encompasses the humanistic qualities of what an authentic leader must be. It also emphasizes the morality and motivation in satisfying the needs of others before oneself.
While transformational leadership, being a leading contributor to authentic leadership theory, enumerates the key elements that mirror authentic leaders.
The elements almost reflect Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and its purpose in driving an individual to reach their full potential. The key components also include – increasing awareness, encouraging the followers to place the needs of the organization above themself, and attending to the needs and aspirations of its people.
The path to being an authentic leader takes a lot of self-reflection as it’s rooted in one’s values, beliefs, morals, and goals.
9 ways for you to develop authentic leadership in your company
1. Practice Self-awareness
What are your strengths and limitations?
Job applicants have often posed this query as they hunt for new positions. However, as a leader, when was the last time you tried to answer this question yourself?
The most valuable asset that you have is yourself. Therefore, invest in yourself first before investing in others through regular self-awareness practices.
Though sometimes, it’s easier to assess others’ weaknesses and strengths, as leaders, examining our own strengths and limitations is crucial since it impacts how we execute as authentic leaders.
Try to invest time in yourself, self-awareness is key in being authentic. This process of self-discovery can be achieved initially through your introspection and by communicating with the people around you.
Explore yourself through personality assessments, aptitude tests on strengths and weaknesses, or leadership skills analyses. Simply asking questions of others around you can give you an answer.
2. Reexamine your Values
Do you still live by your values?
This fast-paced world we live in has helped mold you into the leader you are today. It can feel you are forever caught running after deadlines, satisfying client requests, managing staff, and putting out internal fires.
During these times, try and pause for a bit. Ask yourself, “Why the big rush?”
Reexamine your roots – look back on the values and principles which you uphold. As a leader, do you still operate by these values?
It’s a great idea to share these values with your team members. These principles can give you your target direction at times when you are tested by pressure and keep you on track.
Start walking the talk. Allow your values to radiate among your team members to help gain their respect and loyalty.
3. Discern your Aspirations and Motivations
What’s your passion?
It’s typical for us as humans to be driven by extrinsic desires or outside forces such as big houses, fancy cars, or wealth in general. Intrinsic motivation on the other hand is the desire that comes from within, such as participating in a competition or the feeling of achievement when a task is complete – this tends to be more powerful and results in increased fulfillment.
Discerning your motivations and aspirations takes honesty and readiness as you strike a balance between them.
4. Look at the Big Picture
Where are you heading?
Authentic leaders create long-term goals as something to inspire their team, something to strive towards. They keep their team’s focus intact and accept the challenges that come their way, knowing that they will grow through the experiences and reap the results after.
5. Demonstrate Consistency
How do you exhibit consistency?
Consistency in all life aspects is relevant to being authentic and projects reliability and trust to a team. Authentic leaders apply a similar set of values across all areas of life.
Apart from consistency in values, the tremendous challenge among leaders today is striking a balance among uniformity in career, family, and personal life.
6. Cultivate your Team
How do you develop your team?
An authentic leader relies on his or her team as they understand that they cannot achieve results without them.
Your team helps you to stay grounded and focused on your goals. With proper feedback from various perspectives, any of the team’s mistakes are corrected along the way, leading to more informed and competent decisions and actions.
7. Exude Transparency
In what aspects are you transparent?
Trust begets trust. Followers of authentic leaders openly share their insights and struggles as they encounter them.
Also, authentic leaders do not function well in a workplace tainted with secrecy and/or hypocrisy. Instead, they create a culture of collaboration and mutual respect, eliminating perception bias and encouragement for each member to speak up.
8. Motivate and Empower your Employees
How do you drive your team?
Inspiring your team takes you a step closer to achieving your objective. Employees that are motivated understand their contributions to the greater goal.
An authentic leader can empower the team, as they step up and take on challenges, treating them as opportunities. They are aligned with the values, mission, and goals of the organization. Empowered team members contribute to a positive work culture through the trust and loyalty that they exhibit.
9. Fuel up with your constants
Who are your constants?
Authentic leaders have a support group, known as their constants, that reminds them of their values, goals, and purpose.
These constants sometimes also become a source of motivation to pursue higher-order goals and achieve fulfillment. They may be your family, colleagues, mentors, friends, or sparring partners that keep you focused on your aspirations.
It is essential for leaders to regularly practice self-evaluation and strive for authentic leadership. Studies support that; indeed, leaders can be made by developing them. An authentic leadership, once practiced in the organization may bring effective advancement and positive workplace transformations.
Braden, Michelle. (2018, March 13). Seven Ways to Develop Your Authentic Leadership Style. Forbes Coaches Council. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2018/03/13/seven-ways-to-develop-your-authentic-leadership-style/?sh=377d603d69e6
Indeed. (2021, July 16). What Is Authentic Leadership? (Definition and Characteristics). Retrieved from https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/authentic-leadership
Johnson, S. (2019, September). Authentic Leadership Theory and Practical Applications in Nuclear Medicine. Journal of Nuclear Medicine Technology, 47(3). 181-188. https://doi.org/10.2967/jnmt.118.222851
Psychology Today. (n.d.). Motivation. Retrieved on October 12, 2021, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/motivation