I want to jump in and really unpack why authenticity is such a powerful leadership characteristic. So in this blog post, I’m going to talk about the key role that consistency plays in authenticity. Following on from that, how the power of genuine leadership enables leaders to earn the trust of their team and why it is so fundamentally critical for communication to be supported by courage and accountability. So how do you improve in those critical components that lead to authenticity, and ultimately, to greater trust? If you’re wondering why authenticity is important in leadership, and hoping to identify how to get better in certain key areas, then we can tell you more.
Authenticity in Leadership
Whether you’re an athlete or a business leader, think back to some of the coaches that you’ve had in your career. Did you ever have a coach that points out every little tiny thing you do wrong, so repetitively that you tune them out?
The best coaches in athletics and business are the ones that wait patiently and watch you do something two or three times that might need to be corrected so that when they correct you, they can give you a couple of examples. This notion of patterns becomes essential as a specific action in coaching.
Communication, coaching, and respect all play into each other. Part of the subset of communication skills are courage and accountability. I always talk to my clients about running to the fight; I mean that metaphorically, what I’m advising them to do is confront the reality that’s in front of them right now, in real-time. Then you can figure out the best way to deal with it and grow through it. Courage and communication style are so necessary when you’re facing challenges.
As a leader, you have to have courage when you’re communicating with your team. Because not only do you have the privilege of praising them for the things they’re doing well, but you have to have the courage to confront them on the things that need to get better.
So many leaders avoid difficult conversations. But again, when you go back to the pattern and demonstrate what you need your team members to improve on, it’s helpful for them and you.
You can communicate your commitment to accountability with your team without directly spelling it out. When you show your people with your actions that you have their back, that you’d go to bat for them, you are letting them know without saying a direct word that you have respect for them.
In other words, the audio and the video have to match. Your team is watching your actions versus what you’re saying, and consistency of messaging is key to being your authentic self as a leader. Consistency doesn’t mean perfection, it can be tough to be a leader, but perfect leaders don’t exist. Your team needs to know what they’re getting when they come into work every day — they want a consistent leader.
The people on your team want to know what they can expect to do in certain situations because clear boundaries represent security. We assume that everyone knows the significance of consistent behavior, consistent communication, and consistent execution, but leaders often pay lip service rather than wholeheartedly embracing it.
When you’re a transformational leader, you have an emotional attachment to the growth and success of your people. If you’re consistent with your communication, if you’re consistent with your coaching, and you’re consistent with your civility and decency to folks, they will never forget the message.
We know that today’s workforce wants three things,
- they want to know that they’re valued
- they want to know that the work that they do is important
- they want to be coached.
I want to emphasize the significance of respect in the coaching relationship — it’s not uncommon for even the best leader to let their guard down and lose some self-awareness. Still, it’s crucial to bear in mind that your reaction to a challenging situation impacts your relationships.
We’ve all had those moments where our self-regulation is tested but holding on fast to the notion of respect, civility, and decency is a critical part of bringing your authentic self as a leader. When you are genuine and consistent in your communication and your behaviors, your team repays the support you give them and more.
If you’d like to learn more about questions similar to “why is authenticity important in leadership?”, you’ll love our podcast The Athletics of Business where I discuss a huge range of topics around leadership with a variety of insightful guests. You can also continue to enjoy our blog and all the topics we dive into on the website.