Who are the leaders we call successful? How do they manage to engage their people and get results? How do they handle the different generations and their expectations? There is not a simple one-word answer to these questions, indeed. Our experience, though, has shown us that the leaders who can truly inspire and motivate others are the ones who are authentic in their words and actions.
If you have ever set a goal to develop authenticity in your way of leadership, there are a few tips that can help you achieve it.
1. Know yourself
Encourage feedback – one-to-one or a complete 360-degree survey. Feedback is a gift that is freely given to you as a starting point of the great journey of self-development.
And next, self-awareness comes – get a personal profile analysis with a psychometric tool and look into your report with the cold-blooded approach of an explorer eager to know more. Try to have a different perspective and ask questions, myriad of questions, tough questions. And ask for answers – ask yourself, ask the expert you work with, ask your colleagues, ask your team. It is priceless, what you are going to discover.
Do not forget to have a closer look at your traits of emotional intelligence – an area getting more and more attention these days due to its explicit significance when it comes to experiencing self-worth and reaching one’s full potential.
2. Define your values
Write 10 things that are important to you. Rate and articulate their importance. Be true to yourself about your values and the things you never compromise with.
If we want a team to be stable and to have high performance aligned with a common goal, the team members should be united by common values. Values that you as their leader cherish as your own. It is quite doubtful that you give your best in a company the values of which you find alien. “It is all about the motivators!” some would say. Yet, a motivator can be a true driver only if it is in harmony with the essential internal foundations we cannot get without as people and professionals.
Be honest to your team about your personal values and let your people share theirs. Work together to define the ones true for the whole team.
3. Show that you care
Communicate with your colleagues, be “curious” about the things they find important, ask questions, get to know the specifics and show your concern when needed. Being understood is an initial human need – time goes on but Maslow’s pyramid is as true as ever. The need to belong, to be a part of a community is fundamental for teamwork. The very idea of a team is equivalent to the idea of belonging. With the leader making it true by their approach.
There are teams, of course, who do not need their leader. There are more than one examples of a leader being the common enemy, who the whole team rise against. Thus, getting the team even better united. But this situations are short-lived and with questionable impact. When we want to have highly effective business teams with inspired and motivated members, we definitely rely on a leader, who cares.
4. Listen powerfully
Do not interrupt and fully embrace the thinking and viewpoint of others. Listening can be at many and different levels – from “I listen to you in order to find my way to contradict”, through “I listen to you so that I find what to agree with”, to “I listen to you to in order to understand your point.” The last one may seem difficult but let’s not forget that “understanding” is not equal to “agreeing”.
This is the secret of active listening – in order to be able to look for a common solution we all agree with, we need to start with listening and understanding the other’s point of view.
5. Have clear purpose
Ask yourself “What is my leadership purpose?”. To find the answer, explore your drivers, strengths, values and passions. When the purpose is clear, the way to achieve it is also clear. You know what Seneca once said “If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favourable.”
The opposite is also true – when we know where we are going and we have our goal ahead as a pole star, there is no way we take the wrong path. Yet, we may happen to head south for a bit – Errare humanum est, tight? But it will not be long before we realize this is not the right way because our purpose will make us turn around and follow it again.
Wishing you real authenticity and all the successful impact that goes with it!
Until next time!