How to Become an Authentic Leader

I want to share some of the fantastic leadership lessons that I have been lucky enough to be exposed to over the years, as the founder of The Molitor Group and as an athlete. In this post, I want to explore the value and significance of coaches in their role and how to become an authentic leader

I look at the question in terms of four central questions, inspired by my good friend and fellow coach John O’Sullivan. 

  • Why do you coach? 
  • How do you coach? 
  • How does it feel to be coached by me? 
  • How do I define success?

I used to think that the way to make a significant impact on a person’s life was by helping them to reach their potential. But I developed my thinking and realized that every moment matters, everything that you say to your team stays with them — positive and negative — so you need to be intentional about how you’re coaching them. 

Your business shouldn’t be solely transactional. Of course, we all want to be successful, we all want to win, but we need to go about it the right way so that our achievements are sustainable. How to become an authentic leader is a great question to ask yourself when you’re reflecting on your role. 

What’s Your Why?


As part of the athletics of business, and in our discussions about what makes high-performing teams and authentic leadership, we need to factor in a paradigm shift.  Instead of viewing yourself as a manager or boss, view yourself as a coach. I think people get frustrated because they genuinely want to develop into a great coach, but it’s not something that happens overnight. You need to do some soul searching, ask yourself why you coach, how it will evolve and how you start developing your inner self.

It’s a competitive advantage if most of the people on your team are performing at or near their potential, and if people are missing, you’re not going to be as good at a team as you’re capable of being. If your why is around serving as many of your people as you possibly can and helping them get to a place they’ve never been before and might not get to on their own, that’s a pretty strong central leadership mission. 

If you’re intentional about living your why consistently every day, then the level of trust that builds with your team is impressive. Team members see right through it when you’re not authentic, and they see right through it when you’re not in it for them. At the end of the day, if you’re not in it for them, then they’re not going to be all in for you.


How Do You Lead?


You have to make sure that you live out your authentic leadership every single day, in your practices, in your meetings, and in all aspects of your life. Going back to the basics of business mindset, think about whether you are intentional about the environment you create for your people to succeed. What are the players going to feel like when they walk into your building? What’s your team going to feel like when you walk into the building?

Great leaders make sure everyone feels like they have a role and that the team would not be complete without them. You do that by not just focusing on the numbers; you do that by being a human being, and then connecting with them and knowing who their kids are, and knowing what’s going on in their lives. 

We talk a lot about authentic and resilient leadership, and I like to break authenticity down into honesty, integrity, and vulnerability. People used to think you become powerless by being vulnerable, but on the contrary — you become more powerful. You show that you trust the person that you’re making yourself vulnerable to, you show that you trust their experiences and skills, and you show that you value them because you’re making yourself vulnerable to them. 


Defining Success as an Authentic Leader


Your influence as a leader is never neutral— you’re always having a positive or negative effect. So you have to be intentional in how you have a positive impact on your team. The more aware you are of your influence, the greater your influences.

To learn more about the importance of authenticity in leadership and how to become an authentic leader, you can continue to enjoy our blog posts, or you can head over to the podcast The Athletics of Business when I discuss all aspects of leadership with a variety of insightful guests.


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