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  • Writer's pictureDJ

Are You an Authentic Leader?

I’ve met people who believed they needed to wear a mask to be effective leaders. I disagree.

• Masks slip, and when they do, those who’ve bought into the persona often feel let down, even cheated.

• If you’re not being yourself, you’re sending a message to your team that they don’t need to be themselves either, and that the way to succeed in your organization is to hide.

• Relationships are expedient and false when you wear a mask. You can’t connect with others and they can’t connect with you.

• Constantly acting a part is exhausting. Navigating each step of a working day is challenging enough without doing it in ill-fitting shoes.

• When you praise a member of your team, the praise will ring hollow and seem patronising if it doesn’t come from a place of honesty. Do you want to motivate or demotivate?

• When you play a part and forget who you are, the values that should underpin the decisions you need to make every day can be lost. Instead of making consistent decisions, you can find yourself swaying from one side to another when the real you would move straight ahead.

It’s not always easy to be the real you. You’re putting your head above the parapet and accepting that people might not like what they see. But they’ll see it sooner or later, and delaying it only delays the moment when you can start to build an authentic, respectful relationship.

Have the courage to be seen for who you are.

Have the confidence to express a point of view; what should naturally follow is the openness and curiosity to hear other people’s.

Have the empathy to hear and assess people’s arguments, so when you set boundaries you can do it from a position of knowledge.

Have the honesty to admit to and own mistakes. Fake you might be tempted to hide, but when the real you stands up, others will respect you for it.

It’s difficult to shrug off impostor syndrome if you’re behaving like an impostor. Be the real you and banish any suggestion that you’re somehow not good enough, experienced enough or accomplished enough for the tasks ahead.

You are.


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