What is Authentic Leadership? Well, let me ask you a question….do you bring your full Self to the office? Are you the same person whether at work or out of work? Or do you somehow limit yourself and your personality when you go to work? Or try to hide the more vulnerable parts of yourself, or the weaker aspects of your professional abilities?
If so, then you are simply not an authentic leader.
But why is authenticity so important for a leader? Well, you might have read elsewhere on this site about energetic vibration and resonance. If you’ve missed that bit, then to recap quickly, it’s important to understand that everything in this world vibrates, whether it is your desk, yourself, or the water in your glass. Everything has an energetic pattern, a frequency. We vibrate at the frequency of the person we are. Not who we are pretending to be, or we have been told by our CEO to be, or even who we would like to be, but who we are.
‘To thine own self be true.’
Let’s imagine that you are not a confident person, but you have been sent on a training course and now you are pretending to be a confident person, more authoritative… more dynamic. You behave this way, but then wonder why your employees are wary of you, or fail to trust you, or simply fail to do what you ask them to do. Why do they behave like this? The answer is because how you are acting and what you are saying do not match your energetic vibration. Now I can hear you thinking “this is all sounds a bit woo-woo’, but it is true. On a subconscious level, people read your energy. They might not be aware that they are doing it but they do it. This is because our brains are wired to look for danger. The brain asks – ‘this person may appear to be a friend, but is he really a foe?’ To keep you safe, rather than listen to what the person is saying, your subconscious mind reads the other persons energy field and asks, ‘Does what this person says match what his energetic frequency is saying. Is he telling the truth, and can I trust him?’ When there is a match between what the person is saying and doing and their frequency, our minds allow us to trust people.
I can give you another, more personal example. When I worked at the bank, I worked very hard to be accepted as ‘one of the guys’ – a Senior Pensions Consultant.
‘I’m just like you.’ I would say.
‘Mmm.’ They would say, and look at me a bit strangely. I thought it was all very odd at the time. And at that time of course, I had no idea that I was actually a shaman. But my colleagues could see that there was something different about me, something that even I could not see.
Nowadays, if people ask me what I do, I say.
‘I am a shaman.’
‘Ah yes,’ they say, I can see that.’ And they are quite happy and very trusting and not bothered at all. It’s as if I just said, ‘I am a florist.’
If I say, ‘I am a therapist.’ (Because I don’t want to get into the whole ‘How did you become a shaman,’ story) their eyes narrow and they start to look a bit shifty.
‘What sort of therapist?’ They ask, frowning, head tilted to one side.
‘An alternative therapist.’
‘What sort of alternative therapist? Hmm? What is it you actually do?’
This can go on and on, so eventually I fess up.
‘I’m a shaman.’
‘Ah yes,’ they say. ‘Thought it was something like that.’ And then they relax.
So, the point I am trying to make here in a very long-winded way, is that
People already know who you are, even if you don’t actually know who you are.
And if you think this is woo-woo again, then think about the statistics that state that between 70-93% of all communication is non-verbal. That means when you tell an employee what to do, your words might only equate to 7% of the information they are receiving about you.
Can you go on a course to learn to become an authentic leader? Probably.
Will it work? Not in my opinion. Because a course is going to be about telling you how to be more authentic (which normally translates to being what your employer wants you to be). The only way you can be truly authentic leader, is to do your inner work.
Your job then, in order to become an person who enjoys fabulous relationships and excellent communication with everyone, (not only your colleagues and employees), is to find out who you really are, the good, the bad and the ugly, and be that.
To be brave enough to stand up as that.
But then the biggest and most difficult question in the world is….’who AM I, really?’
Many of us are being who we have been conditioned to be, by our parents, our peers, our teachers, society… the list is endless. Or we try to be what we think we should be. After nearly two decades of helping people every day, I know that when we remould and remould ourselves to suit others, we often lose sight of ourselves altogether so that eventually, even we do not know who we are, at work, or anywhere else for that matter. Additionally, if we have suffered some sort of emotional trauma, then as a protection mechanism, we can actually carve away pieces of our true self and send them away, until only the husk of a person remains.
What are the common factors found in authentic leaders? Generally, they are said to be;
- In touch with their emotional intelligence and not afraid to show their emotions
- Courageous enough to present their true selves
- Aware of their strengths and also their weaknesses
- Constantly developing themselves
- Self aware
- Confident in their own selves, they love and approve of themselves
- Great communicators
- Focused on long-term sustainability, not short-term gain
- Creative – able to think outside the box, therefore innovative
- Highly moral, will not go against their own values
- Fully accountable
- In positive relationship with themselves
- Able to speak their truth with clarity
- Powerful – and able to stand in it without abusing it
That’s quite a list isn’t it?
It is important to note that before these qualities can be demonstrated externally, they need to be gained internally.
We can help you (or the leaders in your organisation) to peel off those false layers of conditioning, develop self-awareness and return any precious aspects of self that may have been carved away. Unlike other leadership development consultants, we can work on the deepest levels of a person’s being and consciousness to bring about wholeness, helping you to enjoy life and greater levels of happiness and personal fulfilment both inside and outside of work. As the youngsters say, ‘ Just do you.’
Authenticity naturally arises from wholeness, without even ‘trying.’
To get started on your journey towards wholeness and happiness – and become a better, more effective, more authentic leader – then please click here.