In business development, there is a lot of talk about authentic leadership. To become an effective leader, the research says, you have to be an authentic leader, because employees and team members won’t follow someone whom they feel is inauthentic and can’t be trusted.
So what does it mean to be an authentic leader? There are several traits exhibited by authentic leaders that help to develop a focused, goal-oriented workforce.
You have a clear vision of who you are and what you’re working toward.
First and foremost, an authentic leader knows himself and his values. Without having a clear self-identity and mission, an authentic leader can’t develop the remaining leadership traits. The authentic leader is unafraid to show who he is and what he is standing for, and he makes sure that other people understand his values.
You’re honest with others.
Authentic leaders are straightforward with their team members. People know their status with authentic leaders because authentic leaders are always honest and transparent in their dealings with other people. Authentic leaders are honest even when if that means ruffling feathers or going against the status quo.
Authentic leaders are ethical.
Ethics, both personal and in business, are crucial to authentic leaders. To stay on the path of authentic leadership, follow your industry’s code of ethics. If your industry doesn’t have a code of ethics, make sure you have one for your organization and your personal conduct.
Authentic leaders follow their instincts.
Authentic leaders aren’t afraid to follow their own instincts. Often, those instincts are based on being tuned into other members of their team. That means listening to feedback of others before important decisions are made.
Authentic leaders exercise humility.
For team members to feel like you are genuine in your dealings, authentic leaders have to be able to exercise humility. That means admitting when they’re wrong and making a plan for correcting mistakes.
Authentic leaders are compassionate.
Authentic leaders demonstrate compassion, both to themselves and others. That means recognizing other’s shortcomings and your own shortcomings and being compassionate about those.
Authentic leaders are curious and courageous.
Being curious as an authentic leader means seeking out others opinions and working to understand opinions that differ from your own. Authentic leaders also are courageous in that they are unafraid to seek goals and advance.
Authentic leaders have a bigger purpose.
Authentic leaders know that they are working toward a goal that is bigger than themselves. They are driven by passion and interest, and work toward a greater goal, whether that’s bettering employees’ lives through the company’s success or making their communities a better place.
Becoming an authentic leader sounds like a lofty goal, but you can work toward becoming a more authentic leader to inspire your team. Understanding who you are and what you’re working toward and remaining committed to that is the first step toward authentic leadership.