Everybody wants to be a leader nowadays. And in reality we are all leaders in many areas of our lives and lead on many fronts. Working with corporate clients I have come to one realization- it does not matter whether you are leading at work or in your charity or at home- Authentic Leadership is the way forward.
Half a decade ago people used to work to live but now our job seems to mould and define our identity. Particularly in the corporate world, our lives, personality and personal stories seem to disappear in the cold and white of the boardrooms.
Yet, everybody wants to be a leader. People struggle their way up on the corporate ladder to become managers, partners or leave after a burnout only to become a CEO somewhere else later on. For the loss of spiritual values and often our personal lives we blame the corporations.
I could give you research and theories upon theories to prove how authentic leadership evolved and what it has done to people. But I won’t. Below is a list of common characteristics of authentic leaders as a more practical way to look at our own life and see how we can be better leaders.
Authentic leaders …
1. Speak the truth-consistently– the emphasis is on consistency. When you know the truth about your own life, you must speak it to become and remain authentic. If you know something is not working, find ways to change it, fix it or create something out of it. That is true authenticity.
2. Lead from their heart – we all have intentions to lead our lives better, aim higher and aspire for more. But there is ego intention and there is heart intention. I think you know the difference, right? When you have your heart set right, the world is right for your intention.
3. Are charismatic and display a strength of character – you know when you meet an authentic person. They have presence, a special energy around them. You feel seen and validated. Authentic leaders can only display this because they are comfortable with themselves and this comfort is charisma.
4. Are Courageous- they are not scared of acting, feeling, saying and doing what they think needs to be said and done. Courage is an emotional investment and if you take risks, you will not regret it! Promise!
5. Deepen themselves- authentic leaders create learning opportunity from everything. Everything- from failure, from heartache, from success and from losses. To create learning you need to be deep enough to see what is there to create from and what is there is learn and consolidate in your personality.
6. Create communities- they know that what they are passionate about will spread like fire so they put their passion to others! This is not about having fan club or followers of your own ideas but about you wanting to make a change and others will want to do the same with you because they see you growing! What a brilliant way to learn how to be more authentic and how to be a leader!
7. Are committed to excellence, not perfection – Finally we can acknowledge that authenticity does not equate with perfection! Authentic leaders are comfortable with not knowing yet they are contagiously confident! Just do your best and leave the rest!
8. Care for themselves- They love themselves as much as they do others. I am telling you, this is not an easy one to crack! Loving ourselves is probably the hardest thing to do when you are sitting in the rubble of your life but the only way to remain authentic.
9. Dream and keep dreaming – without dreaming you will not need any of the above skills, really and you will die unknown, forgotten to the rest of your tribe-whether it is family, friends or your job…seriously, get your dreams out and start making them happen! So that ….
10. …you can Leave a legacy! Authentic leaders leave something bigger behind than their bank balance. They leave ideas, thoughts, well-educated and well-adjusted children. Or they could be remembered for their amazing projects they started that generations after them will finish. Or they might leave a spiritual practice that other greatly benefit from. Or some of them are the champions of those spiritual practices and their legacy is to demonstrate with their behaviour how goodness transforms others…we are all here for a purpose, we need to find it and give it to the world.
The big truths about you are revealed in the small things you do and today you can start doing the small things so that you can leave your truth to the rest of us!