Our natural human tendency is to try to fit in with everyone else. In an effort to do so, we try to look and sound like them. We try to identify with current, popular trends. Leaders mistakenly think that if they jump on every passing trend, they will succeed.
However, real leadership is being true to who you are and to your purpose. The authentic leader understands that not every trend or idea is a fit with their philosophy. Trying things that do not fit in with who you are will lead to mistrust. People will be unsure if they should follow or trust you. Being consistent with who you are is the definition of authenticity.
Authenticity means doing what we know is right even when it is not popular.
It means evaluating decisions in light of our values and always placing those first. Are you holding onto clients and team members who do not share your values? Doing so will end up costing you loyalty from others who stop trusting because you are approving or rewarding lack of alignment with your stated values.
Authenticity is also being transparent with our decisions and work. When communicating about decisions it is imperative to share the “why”. Why did you reach a conclusion, why does this priority make sense for the organization or team? This transparent communication allows people to view our decision-making in light of our stated values and trust us with the process.
Finally, leaders attract the right type of client when they are true to themselves. There are so many leaders that want to copy a famous author or leader. Certainly, we can learn from others, but if we become them we are not fulfilling our own purpose. The people you lead want to follow you, not someone else. If you want to retain clients or team members, it will be because they are “buying” you. Your brand is what they are attracted to and want to identify with long term.
How authentic are you? Are you following trends and others who are not aligned with your values and goals? Begin evaluating your decisions and actions by how well they match your stated purpose. Your success will be tied to how authentic you are as a leader!