To be authentic is to be true to yourself. An authentic person is self-aware, honest, and trustworthy. To behave authentically means that you act according to your values rather than trying to copy or please others. Effective new managers are authentic.
The idea of “authentic leadership,” according to Bill George in his eponymous book on the subject, is that authentic leaders are seen as genuine and real. The opposite of authentic would then be fake, unreliable, and deceptive.
Leading with Authenticity
Harvard Business Review conducted an in-depth study of effective leaders. They found that there was “no size fits all.” In fact, each interviewee had a different definition of the ideal leader and what an ideal leader looks like. But they did agree on the “purpose of their leadership and learned that being authentic made them more effective.”
Managers, Take Note
Authenticity makes managing easier. Why? Because you are being true to yourself. You are not stressed by the effort to be someone you are not.
Taken from our new manager training program, here is how to close in on your true self and become more effective as an authentic manager:
- Conduct a Personal Inventory
Define your values and your strengths. What matters most to you? What are you good at? The better and more complete the list, the more self-aware you can be and the closer you will be to living in line with who you are at your core.
- Understand Your Values in the Context of Your Role as Manager
Translate your values and strengths into the way you want to manage. If, for instance, you espouse the value of open, honest, direct communication, ask yourself if you share that value at work. Do you support a diversity of thought and opinion? Do you encourage and reward constructive debate? Do you insist that team members respect one another?
- Articulate Your Purpose
What is it that drives you? Why do you do what you do? The answer in your professional life should mirror your purpose in your personal life. If you strive to raise kind, confident, capable children, you should be focused on managing a team that prioritizes mutual respect, belief that goals can be achieved, and the development of the skills needed to accomplish those goals.
- Focus on Your People
Your job as a manager is, after all, to deliver on business targets through the people on your team in a way that makes sense to the people and to the business. Be sure that your employees know through your actions that you care about them as individuals and support their career development and success.
- Learn from Experience
We all make mistakes. What distinguishes an authentic manager from others is the ability to recognize and admit mistakes, learn from them, and adjust behaviors accordingly. A dash of humility and the willingness to change will inspire your team to adopt a mindset of continuous learning.
The Bottom Line
As Shakespeare said, “To thine own self be true.” When you lead with authenticity, your team will reward you with their best efforts and their loyalty.
If you liked Effective New Managers Are Authentic, download 6 Management Best Practices that Make the Difference Between Effective and Extraordinary