The authenticity and ‘realness’ of a leader influences whether people trust them and believe what they say. Being authentic is a very powerful way of leading – principally, because as the name suggests, it cannot be faked. An authentic leader is just that – someone who knows their limits, their strengths and their values.
They are not perfect individuals and this fallibility is used as a tool to show their people that mistakes can be made and it is how you manage them that makes the difference between success and failure.
Because of the willingness of authentic leaders to be open about their hopes, achievements, fears and vulnerabilities, their people aspire to be as open and honest about themselves.
For someone to lead authentically, they need to be able to demonstrate that they are practicing the values that they promote.
Honesty, clarity, fairness and integrity are some of the traits that an authentic leader must be prepared to live by as well as encourage in others. The only way that you can expect others to change their behaviour is if you yourself are prepared to foster the qualities in yourself that you expect them to develop in themselves.
While the authentic leader is on a journey of evolution and growth, their message is clear. They have a set of values and beliefs that they intend to live by and demonstrate to others. It is in this way that their people learn what inspired the leader in the first place and what continues to inspire them.
Authentic leaders value their reputation and know that part of their job is to ensure it is maintained. This requires commitment to what they believe in and whole heartedly expressing it through everything they do. Because they represent their beliefs so successfully people recognise them as a force for the greater good and willingly follow them.