The key to being an effective and authentic leader is to keep developing by making the correct choices every day. Accept that you are a work in progress and take conscious consistent action to continue developing yourself. Learning is a lifelong process and you have been given all the tools you need to take advantage of it … so here are some typical choices that authentic leaders make during their day-to-day practice.
(1) Know who you are
You will know your own core values and have the strength of character to walk your talk in all circumstances. Other people will recognise this in you and will respect you for having what they perceive to be the strength in your own convictions and values.
(2) Talk the truth
Be clear and honest in your communications with others. Say what you mean and mean what you say. This may sound both easy and obvious but there will be a natural congruence between what you say verbally and your non-verbal communication. As a result, other people will know you believe what you are saying and will respond to your honesty.
(3) Be courageous and congruent
Have the inner strength to do what you know is right rather than what you think others expect you to do. This may not always be comfortable but it will reap rewards and benefits in the long run because other people will quickly learn that they know where they stand with you.
(4) Be vulnerable
Accept your weaknesses and be prepared to show your vulnerability to others. Nobody is perfect and a truly authentic leader not only admits that to themselves but also to others around them, especially when asking for support or guidance. Accepting your vulnerability is not a sign of weakness but is actually a strength that will serve you well.
(5) Believe in yourself
Use your imagination, have a vision and think creatively with an achievement mindset rather than following the crowd. You know what you want, and what you need to do to get it. Other people will perceive this as confidence (or even ego) but you know better, so have faith and belief in your own judgement and ability – believe in yourself.
(6) Create links and networks
Develop relationships and form psychological contracts with others to build strong and vibrant support networks. You know how important other people are and you now need to proactively keep your networks and communities of practice alive and dynamic. Take time to engage with others and they will respond accordingly.
(7) Respect yourself
Protect, nurture and look after your own physical and mental health, and learn to control your own emotional state at all times. When you are in a positive and resourceful mental state then you will perform better. When your body is tired or damaged then so is your mind so look after yourself and live sensibly.
(8) Face your fears
Stay ‘in the moment’ and accept your fears and work to overcome them in everything you do. There is no point worrying about what has already happened (past) or becoming anxious about what might be about to happen (future). The only time you can truly influence and control is the present so keep your focus!
(9) Be significant
Make a positive conscious contribution every day and leave your mark in some way. One way to do this is to express your gratitude at the end of each day by considering the opportunities you have been given, what you did with them and how this has helped and supported others. Other people will know the legacy you are leaving – do you?
Thinking back over the past 10 days, how would you score yourself (1-10) against each of these authentic leader choices?
Now what are you going to do differently today …?