Authentic Leadership starts in your own back yard. It starts before you start managing people.
I was having a conversation with another leader last week and we were discussing authentic leadership in the workplace.
It’s easy to say, you need to be an authentic leader but no one really teaches you how.
Here are four pathways to developing your authentic leadership.
1. Know your own strengths
Many people don’t know what their own strengths are. They don’t have the awareness of why they have been successful to date or not…even before they start leading people.
In sales rep survey’s I have conducted over the years, “my manager doesn’t help coach my strengths and weaknesses” was a constant area of feedback. It’s hard to coach others if you don’t know your own.
Strength finder test is a good one to steer building awareness. Find the link here in addition to other tips on How Leaders should spend their first 30 days.
2. People don’t know what their “term”s are.
What are non negotiable’s that you will not bend on at all costs? These cross business, personal, and life in general.
Two of mine are:
a. Learning about life’s challenges through adventuring
b. Nourishing my body through healthy living and spiritual wellness
I am very fortunate my company supports these and and is in alignment in what I bring to the table. Not all companies are.
Similar, my wife is not a big adventurer through running, but she is a life adventurer and is a big supporter in both of these areas. She is a great cook!
Developing this area doesn’t happen on its own. It was work with my business coach that helped me master this area.
3. Emotional Intelligence and winning hearts and minds
a. If you don’t have the two skills above it’s hard to develop this skill. You need to do the work and be the model before you can coach it.
This is why so many sales rep to sales leader promotions have challenges.
b. Too many leaders in the market see leading as controlling instead of teaching and coaching.
If you don’t do good discovery on what your people’s personal goals are, and teach and coach to help them realize and achieve, along with business goals, you will never win their heart. In my experience, many people don’t know how to create their own personal goals. You have to help teach them the framework to uncover and it takes time…and patience.
It takes emotional intelligence to do this.
Once you learn the hearts and minds piece, here are some good methods on applying through your 1:1 meetings with your people.
4. Lack of mentorship
People don’t work hard and smart enough to put themselves in a position to attract good mentors.
- The manager that is a know it all in public that is really controlling and scared in private.
- The annoying sale rep that rewards themselves in public because they crave attention and recognition.
- Those who help themselves before helping others, thrive.
Mentors reflect back who you are and help you develop over time. If you can’t attract good mentors, you can’t grow.
If you are looking for a mentor framework, this is one I developed over time.
By all means, this isn’t an exhaustive list. However, it served me well in my 20-year career.
If you haven’t started managing yet, this is the perfect time to start developing these areas. If you are a people manager, it’s never too late to start!
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