Appreciate Your Strengths
Over the last half-century, there have been more than 1000 studies completed to define the characteristics of great leaders. Thankfully, they have all failed to find the silver bullet. There is no formula for being a great leader. The one nugget of wisdom that came to light was that you should avoid adopting a persona and stick to being your authentic self for others to trust you. It seems that if you do not appreciate who you are, why should anyone else?
The past 15 years have seen the emergence of the authentic leader as a phenomenon. Authentic leaders demonstrate a passion for their purpose, practice their values constantly and lead with their hearts as well as their heads. To some extent, this is amalgamated into the virtues of emotional intelligence (EI). In theory, the higher your EI, the better a leader you are because you can establish solid supportive relationships inside and outside of your professional life.
Before we continue with the authentic theme, it is essential to identify the difference between being an authentic leader and just being yourself. Those who aspire to leadership use those exact qualities required for the environment. They do not turn up to the office in that authentically unkempt, Sunday morning walking the dog or playing hide and seek with the kid’s way. That is reserved for your personal life.
As Peter Sims explains in his article, ‘Discovering your authentic leadership’, begin by understanding and being aware of the story of your life. This narrative is not a catalogue of events. It is the story of your life you tell yourself. It is your perception covering a full spectrum of experiences. It is through these experiences that we can develop into our authentic leader. So, as Sims suggests, ask yourself some reflective questions to bring your personal story to the surface:
- Which people and experiences in your early life had the most significant impact on you?
- What are the moments when you asked, ‘is this me’?
- What are your most deeply held values, and from where do they come? How do these values help your leadership?
- What motivates you extrinsically and intrinsically?
- What does it mean for you to be authentic?
You can find more about becoming an authentic leader in “Revealing the Leadership Secrets For A Successful Business: Lessons from high performing business leaders” which is free to download at https://woodward-consulting.net/revealing-the-leadership-secrets-for-a-successful-business/
George, W., Sims, P., McLean, A., Mayer, D., White., 2007. Discover Your Authentic Leadership. Harvard Business Review
Chamorro-Premuzic, T., 2021. The Perils Of Being Yourself. [online] Forbes. Available here [Accessed 8 June 2021].
Revealing the leadership secrets for a successful business
Lessons from high performing business leaders
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