The Key Elements of Authentic Leadership
The world has changed, and the call for authentic leaders is louder than ever.
Whether we intend to or not, we bring our whole selves to work.
Today’s workforce is demanding companies and leaders that allow them to balance their personal and professional lives while also finding purpose in their work. They are seeking leaders that lead from a place of authenticity – leaders that walk their talk, treat people as full humans, and live in alignment with their values, purpose, and strengths, while creating a safe environment for their teams to do the same. This approach demands that leaders dig deep and intentionally work on personal and professional development so that they can be the leader they aspire to become, and create workspaces where others are inspired to show up and shine.
We coach leaders to grow into the best version of themselves using the 5 P’s of Authentic Leadership, explained below with some of the questions that help the self-discovery process:
Authentic leaders are aware of their strengths, values, and priorities, and they live in integrity with these things. They own and leverage their strengths, and they also own (with humility) the things that they don’t know or cannot do. They aren’t afraid to ask for help or admit to and learn from their mistakes. They have clear boundaries for themselves around what actions and decisions they will and won’t take based on what they value and what feels in and out of integrity for them personally. They can sleep well at night knowing they did the best they could with what they knew and who they were at the time.
What do you want people to say about you at your 80th birthday party or at your funeral? What values and priorities do you need to live by to become this person?
Having a clear vision of how you want to show up in the world, and how this person (your ideal self) acts and behaves is the best way to become that version of yourself. Sometimes we don’t have a single mentor or role model that is showing us the way, so we have to become that person. Thinking about how this person would walk, talk, and behave is the best way to get clarity on what you are trying to become – then you can begin to “act as if” you are that person – until you realize one day you have lived into becoming that person!
What are your biggest strengths? What values do you need to prioritize to live and make decisions by to live in integrity?
As we get clearer on who we want to become, we can begin to define clear goals that drive the daily habits and discipline we need to change or continue to grow. If you want to be a healthy person, you get to make daily decisions about your eating, sleeping, and exercise habits. What would a healthy person do? If you want a promotion at work, how would a successful executive at your company act, dress, or speak?
What daily habits will support you in living into the person you want to become?
It has been said that we become the combined average of the 5 people we spend the most time with. Authentic leaders are thoughtful about who they spend their time with, and set clear boundaries for the relationships they choose to invest their valuable time with.
Who do you have in your life that supports you in living in alignment with your values? Who is your biggest positive influence? Do you need to add or limit anyone to your existing network in order to improve your community of support?
Pay It Forward
Partnering also includes how you support others – are you helping others grow? Authentic leaders inspire others to be authentic just by living, by leading by example. By living their truth, they light the way for others to do the same. Many leaders jump in to guide others, applying their own values and goals to the advice they give others. Authentic leaders listen deeply to first understand where someone else is coming from and what they value, what their goals are; then they guide people to act in a way that is in integrity for that person, realizing that what is true and authentic for one person is not always the same for others. Often people just need someone to listen deeply to gain clarity on what they need to do for themselves. Authentic leaders help others live more authentically.
How do you deeply listen to others to help them live into their values instead of trying to shape your own agenda? Who can you mentor or support into living into their truth?