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How Authentic People Lead

You don’t have to convince people to follow you when leading in authenticity.

My understanding of human behavior and my readiness to utilize my own values in leadership draw people to be a part of my company. My own values help me understand what is necessary in leadership and create mutual trust and respect among our team.

Taking the steps below will guide you through the process of developing an authentic style of leadership.

  • Seek education about leadership.

  • Implement the elements you have learned.

  • Make decisions which align with your values.

Any role of leadership you have will be attractive to others.

You don’t have to convince people to follow you when leading in Authenticity.

Many people go to school to become a manager or a leader. Organizational Leadership, Business Management and Public Administration are some of the academic degrees offered at colleges nationwide. My path in school was focused on Human Development, Human Services and Social Work. I took these skills and translated them into leadership by implementing my understanding of human behavior. What influenced my style of leadership greatly was a book I read in my undergraduate studies, entitled “Servant Leadership”. The author shared the story of Lee Iaccoca, the CEO of Chrysler Motor Company. When Mr. Iaccoca joined the company, Chrysler was in shambles. Employee morale was low and the company was in serious danger of becoming irrelevant and shifting to only be regarded as a historical part of the automobile industry. His philosophy of being in the trenches with the employees won him respect and admiration. It improved morale and productivity. As a young student, this story inspired me. I was not on a track for leadership but I knew how it must have felt to be a Chrysler employee during that time and feel valued and acknowledged by the top guy. My values around leadership come from this place – to be honored and valued. I am first a colleague and second a leader to everyone in my company. To lead, you must first be trusted and respected. Without these elements, you will pull people along like dragging them through the thick mud. People are drawn to leaders who are true to who they are and are reflective of who the employee is. They will willingly follow the leader who resembles something they themselves value.

When you take the steps below, you will begin to lead with your own authenticity:

Seek education about leadership.

Learning what others have used will shape your own behavior.

Being a student, I was open to learning. However, I had no concept at that time of what my future would hold and how my learning would be relevant to the future self who is currently writing this. Reflecting on the leadership style of others didn’t lead me to duplicating someone else’s life. It allows you to hold a deeper understanding of the process that each of us go through and what that process can lead us to.

Following the steps below will provide you with the information you need to develop your style of leadership:

  • Find information regarding various leadership practices, parenting practices or anything relevant to the role of leadership you occupy.

  • The information you receive must be relevant to the role you have.

This helps your brain categorize it as important and reachable.

  • Pay attention to the author’s perspective.

The author may be informing you about what doesn’t work rather than what does. Keep this in mind as you take in what is being offered to you.

  • Reflect on the elements of what you learn which resonates with you.

Not every lesson a teacher gives will be helpful in your life. Spend time reflecting on what does resonate with you rather than trying to absorb it all.

  • Consider how these elements of leadership are connected to your values.

Each element you reflect on will be important because it is connected to something you value. Identify those connections.

You will find your personal style of leadership.

Implement the elements you have learned.

Knowing to do something is only useful when you implement the knowledge.

Reading information about styles of leadership doesn't always result in personal transformation. Oftentimes, it is quite the opposite. There is a quiet acknowledgement when you as the reader oppose what is being offered. This is an indication that what is being shared is not aligning with who you are. This is not a reason to abandon the message – only to know that this message and others exist.

  • Identify options for implementation of each element.

Allow yourself to come up with a complete list of every possible way you could implement each specific element. Don’t leave anything out just because you think it may not work.

  • Consider the pros and cons of each option.

You must weigh both sides to determine if an option is viable. Consider how the option would impact you and other people.

  • Choose an option

As you choose how you will implement the element of leadership, you will allow the other ideas to remain as back up plans. Your choice should be a reflection of your values.

  • Plan how you will carry it out.

Identify each step of what you will need to do to carry out your plan. You will need to consider materials, costs and any infrastructure needed.

  • Evaluate how the plan worked

Following implementation, perhaps the most important step is to evaluate the outcome. If things didn’t work as planned or you didn’t arrive at the desired outcome, go back to the start and repeat the process of choosing a different option.

Find authenticity through strategies which are in alignment with you.

Make decisions which align with your values.

A crucial element of leadership is being able to make sound decisions.

Each decision I make as a business leader comes from a place of needing to be valued and honored as an employee. These values shape my company and are a reflection of my authentic self.

Taking the steps below will assist you as you align your decisions and your values:

  • Examine your values to ensure that making decisions is something which resonates with you.

Making decisions isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. You may need to delegate as much as possible or work on creating a strategy which helps you feel more comfortable when making decisions.

  • Examine each decision through the lens of your values.

Every decision you make should connect to something you value. If it doesn’t, you are leading from someone else’s authenticity.

  • Consider a different route when you notice a conflict.

Internal conflict is a signal to yourself that something isn’t feeling right. Be aware of this and consider a different approach when faced with conflict.

  • When decisions are made on your behalf, understand the value which guided that decision.

If you are the subject of a decision rather than the decision maker, seek to understand the value which helped shape that decision. This will help you be a part of the solution rather than moving into resentment or creating confusion around you.

Your decisions will be a reflection of who you are.

Your truest self will be revealed through the way you lead.

People are drawn to leaders who lead from visible values.

My leadership style is a reflection of understanding human behavior and recognizing the need for people to be honored and valued. This emphasis maintains my authenticity as I lead my company.

Take the following steps to ensure your own authenticity is being reflected through your leadership:

  • Seek education about leadership.

  • Implement the elements you have learned.

  • Make decisions which align with your values.

Any leadership role you are in will be an authentic representation of who you are.

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