Authentic leaders are adept at engaging people and building trust throughout their organization. They’re also good listeners. Authentic leaders care deeply about the people they lead. They trust them and are willing to listen to their ideas, opinions, and concerns. Authentic leaders know that when they lead others, they must be willing to put themselves aside so their employees can do their best work. Here are seven tips on how you as a leader can be more authentic and effective as a leader:
1. Be vunerable
Authentic leaders are willing to be vulnerable. They’re ready to admit their mistakes, apologize when needed, and ask for help when they don’t know where they’re going or how to get there. This vulnerability is one of the essential traits of authentic leaders because it grounds their followers. It shows them that the leader cares about them, not just about the tasks at hand. When your followers see that you care about them as people, not just as employees, they’re going to be more willing to trust you with their ideas and be accountable for what they say and do.
2. Lead by listening.
Authentic leaders are adept at the art of listening. They aren’t waiting for what they want to happen to start listening. They listen to see what their followers want, need, and feel. They listen to see what their employees think about their tasks, work, and company culture. Not only do authentic leaders want to know what their employees want, but they also want to know what they need. Leaders can’t be reactive.
3. Be present
Authentic leaders are good at managing their time. They don’t let the day-to-day demands of their job get in the way of being present with their people. They know that being present isn’t about doing “more” of the same thing. It’s about having the time and energy to explore your talents and strengths, develop new skills, and take care of your mental health and physical health. When you’re present, you’re not constantly thinking about what you did yesterday or what you need to do tomorrow. You’re simply living in the moment. Authentic leaders know that if they want to be more authentic, they need to be more present.
4. Lead with empathy
Authentic leaders are good at showing empathy. They aren’t high-maintenance leaders who expect their employees to feel their pain, understand their needs, and always have their backs. They’re not “all good” all the time or “all bad” all the time. They recognize that everybody has feelings and everybody has needs. When you’re leading with empathy, you can get outside of yourself and see things from your employees’ point of view. You’re able to recognize that they have needs and feelings that need to be taken into consideration. Leaders who want to be more authentic need to lead with empathy.
5. Be proactive
Authentic leaders are proactive in their actions and choices. They aren’t simply waiting for the right opportunity to pop up. They aren’t waiting for circumstances to occur that will allow them to flourish as leaders. They’re proactive because they recognize that they need to lead with their strengths if they want to be more authentic. If authentic leaders want to be more effective and authentic, they need to be proactive in their actions and choices.
6. Lead with your strengths
Authentic leaders are good at leveraging their strengths. They know what their strengths are and they’re willing to leverage them. Instead of relying on their weaknesses, authentic leaders leverage their strengths by knowing when to walk away from a situation, a project, a conversation, etc. You’re not letting your weaknesses get in the way of your success.
Authentic leaders are willing to put themselves aside so that their employees can do their best work. They’re ready to be vulnerable, lead by listening, be present, be proactive, and lead with their strengths. Authentic leaders are willing to take the time to hone their skills so that they aren’t simply relying on the skills that got them to where they are today; they are contributing to the growth and development of the future leaders of tomorrow.