Authenticity. Of course.
I have given myself a talking to.
I focused my leadership manifesto onto four areas where I believe leaders/aspiring leaders can focus and achieve a step change in their performance. They are outlined in previous posts on this blog.
But working with someone yesterday on elements of leadership I was talking, as you would expect, about the importance of authenticity, on being real, on that level of self-awareness and being both at ease with & true to oneself that is the foundation of effective and inspirational leadership.
And I was asked “Why does this not feature in your manifesto then?”
A bit of a showstopper really. And the not-very-satisfactory answer has to be that it is so important and so obvious to me that I took it as read. That it went without saying. Quite surprising when you consider how much I talk about and request authenticity.
So as an addendum to my previous posts I would like to advocate the imperative point that you aren’t being an effective leader if you aren’t Being Authentic. And what do I mean by this:
- Having values and being true to them (‘being’ them not just talking about them)
- Self-awareness: reflection and re-examination by the leader of his or her own strengths, weaknesses and possible unconscious biases
- Open sharing by the leader of his or her own thoughts and beliefs, balanced by control of display of emotions (to put it another way express emotions rather than display them e.g. saying “that makes me feel frustrated” as opposed to acting frustrated)
- Being open to differing points of view and treating them as of equal value regardless of any final decision
- Creating coalitions of support regardless of seniority or silos
- Stewardship/legacy – begin focused on what remains when the leader him/herself is no longer in that specific post – employing the best as direct reports, nurturing successors and thinking long-term
Sorry again for the omission and let me know what you think.
(PS hope you like the postcard – part of Chelsham’s new brand collateral prepared for the 2014 CIPD L&D Show)