There’s so much talk about the importance of being “authentic”—the value of telling the truth about your thoughts and feelings.
Why is authenticity such a big deal?
Reflect on leaders you’ve been exposed to—who was great, who was not as great?
I’ll bet the great leaders you’ve known were authentic and the not-as-great weren’t as authentic.
The Elephant in The Room
My concern with authenticity is that most people believe that they are highly authentic—until they think about it more carefully.
How often do you avoid talking about the “elephant in the room”—as so many leaders do?
How often have you, for example:
- Opted for having a superficial, non-specific discussion with your team member about the quality of their work?
- Avoided telling your boss how you actually feel when he cancels your one-on-one meeting, again?
- Side-stepped having a conversation with a peer about how you feel when they’re consistently late for meetings?
Some people, leaders included, have spent so much time being inauthentic, it feels normal to them.
The Costs of Not Being Fully Authentic
It doesn’t feel good when you know someone’s not being completely candid about what’s going on with them, does it?
If you’re not habitually and courageously speaking your truth:
- The quality of your relationships with others suffers. Human beings want to connect with another human being—not a phoney replica of one.
- The trust that others have in you takes a nose-dive. As soon as the other person finds themselves questioning how truthful you’re being with them, the trust they have in you will diminish. (And it’s unlikely that they’ll tell you about it.)
- Your anxiety and stress will be higher than it needs to be.And that’ll impact how well you sleep plus how creative you are too.
Therefore, it’s crucial that you’re authentic—because great leaders develop honest, trust-filled relationships and effectively manage their anxiety, stress and sleep habits.
What Stops You from Being Authentic?
Is it that you’re:
- Concerned that you’ll provoke an unwanted response when you disclose your true thoughts and feelings?
- Attempting to hide something you’re not proud of or who you really are?
- More comfortable with surface-level conversations than you are with more intimate conversations?
Not being authentic doesn’t feel good, it’s not good for others, and it doesn’t contribute to the greater good either.
Your Call to Action
Where do you generally sit on the authenticity scale?
Is it time you, firstly, increased your awareness about what you’re thinking and how you’re feeling?
And secondly, is it time for you to learn more about how to disclose your thoughts and feelings in a way that’ll enhance the conversation and your relationship with the other person?
Please email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you’d like to discuss how I can support you with this.
“My coaching program has given me a vastly improved
ability to effectively and efficiently manage issues and conflict.
Situations that I previously viewed as difficult, and
therefore sometimes procrastinated about, now seem
a good deal more approachable.”
—Managing Director, Investment Bank
About The Author:
Carolyn Stevens has worked with leaders—hundreds of them—for more than 25-years.
She’s helped leader after leader feel total pride in who they are as a leader—confident, courageous, impressively influential (even when they’ve previously struggled to confront the difficult, let alone persuasively deal with it).
Carolyn is authentic and results-oriented. She’ll draw on an eclectic array of approaches, tools and techniques to suit your situation.
She’s never too busy to talk to you—or to leaders you refer who’re in a hurry to boost their success. Email to arrange a time to chat: email@example.com