Authentic Leadership – Tips for Becoming the Leader You Want to Be

Published November 29, 2011

Becoming a leader that others look up to is a goal worth pursuing. Authentic leadership is a form of leadership that transforms people, organizations, communities, and the world. Think about the great leaders you admire most. Chances are, these leaders maintain key positions within organizations because they are trusted, respected, and admired. They communicate clearly and authentically, relying on high ethical standards to convey their messages. They walk the talk with respect to their values and they care about the well-being of others. In so doing, they make it safe to take risks and to consider creative solutions to complex problems. These leaders are themselves high performers and they are considered the ‘go to’ people in their organization. Here are some tips to help nurture others so they can become high performers too.

Authentic leaders:

  • Know their personal values: Put simply, you need to know what matters to you and why. This requires a high degree of self-awareness – meaning that one must be aware of and trust in one’s own personal characteristics, values, motives, feelings, and beliefs.
  • Communicate authentically: This means being true to your word and walking the talk. By communicating authentically, leaders can foster a caring and nurturing environment that creates a more humanistic approach to managing in today’s chaotic world.
  • Encourage creativity: Complex problems require creative solutions. Authentic leaders provide a safe environment for staff and volunteers to think critically about options, determine possible solutions, and take informed risks. This type of environment is a hallmark of authentic leadership.
  • Embrace diversity: Research suggests that diversity of perspective enhances decision-making by ensuring that the dialogue is informed while taking into account multiple perspectives. Authentic leaders deliberately search out diverse perspectives from others as they know it will provide their organization with a competitive advantage over those organizations that don’t.
  • Mentor staff and key volunteers: Authentic leaders create pathways for success that enable staff and volunteers to learn, grow, and take on new challenges. They provide them with a nurturing environment to set goals and to determine longer term objectives.

The Benefit: Being deliberate about the leadership style you want to embody is a critical skill for any woman to have. While the literature has many leadership books that you can explore to learn more about the leadership style that suits your personality, strengths, and aspirations, you may wish to chat with Dina if you want to exchange ideas on how to design your personal leadership plan.

Originally published on the CAAWS' Women and Leadership Network.

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