all seen countless articles on leadership styles (autocratic, democratic, strategic, transactional, etc). All of these have no doubt had successes for people, but ultimately everyone needs to find their own style. No matter your working style, a leader needs to be authentic.
What does being Authentic mean?
It means being true to yourself and your values, being vulnerable and forthright with everyone you interact with.
People prefer to choose who they follow, not be told who their leader is. Our basic human instincts tell us to follow those that we trust, respect and admire.
How does one be Authentic?
1. Be self aware - know your strengths and your weaknesses and don't pretend to be something you aren't.
2. Put trust in others - the old adage that trust is earned and not given is simply outdated thinking. If you want to have the trust of others, then lead by example and be giving of your trust to them. You can never be trusted if you don't trust others.
3. Be respectful - unlike trust, respect is earned. This is a simple lesson we learn in kindergarten, treat people the same way you would like to be treated. It's really that simple!
4. Hold on to your values - all too often people act in ways that are inconsistent with their own personal values, whether it be to align with a corporate culture, or with a boss' expectations. If you are in a role where your values can't be respected, then you are in the wrong role, and your own satisfaction and engagement will suffer.
Today's workforce is no longer content to simply follow who they are told to follow, they want to feel connected to their leader, they want to follow them out of desire, not obligation. People are looking for real connections with their leaders, and have open, respectful, trusting relationships.