Three Ways To Become A More Authentic Leader

 

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Moving into a position of senior leadership is a unique challenge for most. And whether you have achieved that status gradually, through hard work and moving slowly up the corporate ladder, or you decided to start up your own business and were catapulted into being a leader almost overnight, the challenge can be equally tough. You may have been a master of whatever skill you needed vocationally, but becoming a leader requires a whole different set of functions – ones that you may never have received any formal training at all. The task before you is fluid and challenging – you must earn the respect of employees, suppliers, business partners and financers and be able to share your vision in a way that rings true.

Being Your True Self

The key to it all is authenticity. If you’re feeling full of doubt about your leadership abilities, concentrate on the fact that by being your true self, you are more likely to win respect and support and find your motivation, even if not everyone likes you. A lot of new leaders, feeling lost, try to imitate the leadership styles of others – bosses they have worked under, or public figures that they know of. But you don’t need to change who you are, and this approach will often ring hollow with those looking up to you. Don’t fall prey to imposter syndrome – aim to become an amped-up version of yourself instead.

Understand What You Bring To The Table

Too often in business, we erroneously subscribe to a homogenous culture in which we all try to be the same and smooth off our edges in order to fit in. But it turns out, diversity in a business is a true strength – bringing more perspectives and minds to the problem, and letting you pick up on things you may have otherwise missed. Analyse your own unique skills and work out exactly what you contribute – a structure like Myers-Briggs can be really useful for helping you to work this out. It gives you a framework to operate in, and lead your organization in a way that lets you still feel like yourself. Going to a retreat like the ones HCC run can also help by giving you time out from the rush of day-to-day problems and competing priorities to work out what you can really contribute back in the office.

Find Your Leadership Style

There is no single right way to be a leader – it’s about working out your own style – comprised of your character, strengths, personal vision and weaknesses. Knowing what you aren’t great at is even more important – this allows you to work on any shortcomings with training and mentorship, or to hire in experts who are very strong in the qualities you lack. Be very aware of your own personality type and how it fits in – you don’t have to be a banner waving extrovert to become a leader. In fact, an observant, intuitive introverted leader can be extremely good at connecting with others on a more intimate level.

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