5 ways to be an authentic leader

In 2020, authentic leadership is more important than ever before – people can smell bullsh*t a mile away and they’re adverse to it.

Employees and customers are gravitating towards companies and leaders with a clear sense of purpose and direction. So it’s time to stop whatever it is you’re doing right now! We’re going to explain exactly why you need to pay attention to authenticity for the future success of your business, and how you can be an authentic leader.

The concept of authentic leadership has huge benefits for business – it boosts organisational performance by 40%, improves reputation and social license and secures the long-term viability of your enterprise. Everyone wants all of this, right? Well, there’s more…

Employees are happier, more comfortable, and more productive when they feel like they know their leaders, and that their leaders have the best interests of all of their stakeholders at heart.

True authentic leadership is when leaders act as their true selves at work and they have a shared purpose with their organisation and its people. Authentic leaders allow themselves to connect with their employees and have the long-term goals of their organisation as a guiding principle.

‘Fake it until you make it’ works because you employ it for a short time, but at some point, you need to genuinely be who you are.

My top 5 ways to be an authentic leader in your business:

    • Know your strengths – If you know what you’re good at, you can work to hone them to be better at what comes naturally to you. For your weaknesses, you can strive to improve them and have someone back you up on that. For example, if you’re not a great negotiator, you can bring a team member who is great to your negotiation sessions, while working on your own skills. This doesn’t get you out of difficult conversations because you’re not good at them. No one likes it and you can’t use this as an excuse!
    • Be clear about who you are – Communicate your beliefs and what you stand for, let people opt in and out of your leadership as they inevitably will if there’s a clash in belief or style. People want to follow someone who they believe in.
    • Trust and loyalty are key – Authenticity builds trust and trust builds organisational and customer loyalty. Just like any relationship outside of the workplace, without trust and loyalty, you don’t have anything. So these are essential ingredients for workplace relationships and are important for authentic leadership.
    • Know your values – You can’t authentically be a leader if you don’t know what you stand for – if you know your values, you know the standards you will hold people to and you can back those standards with a clear why.

Are you looking to evolve your leadership skills and understand how to implement the concept of authentic leadership in your business?

We have assembled inspiring luminaries alongside Australia’s top CEOs and MDs to help you develop your leadership through authenticity, openness, and trust. Back for its fifth year on 17-20 March, the Authentic Leadership Summit 2020 is not to be missed. Tickets are selling fast, get yours here.

Bad management and how to stop it

Stopping bad management ruining businesses and stagnating people’s careers is something that I’m really passionate about. When it comes to bad management, it isn’t just about intimidation or belittling, deliberately setting unachievable targets or projecting the stereotypical “horrible bosses” behaviour. It can be as simple as leaving staff wondering what their goals are, resulting in them not being able to achieve them, or a dereliction of duty because it’s too hard or too confronting.

In 2020, I’m challenging CEOs, CFOs, CMOs and everything in between, no matter what the size of the business or organisation, to stop bad management and to have the tough conversations that turn managers into leaders.

I’ve worked in small, medium and large organisations in the education sector and have been fortunate enough to meet hundreds of managers from some of the largest organisations in the country to start-up business owners trying to find their way. Some of the key things I have learnt along the way include:

  • Communication is key – people have to know what to expect and how they are to deliver on those expectations
  • It’s recognition – staff should know when they have done a good job and have shown the right commitment
  • It’s providing an environment of psychological safety, of allowing people to ask the hard questions and not being afraid of addressing concerns
  • It’s leading by example and modelling the behaviour you want others to emulate and being brave enough to call out behaviour that is not OK
  • It’s making values and standards clear and visible and recognising behaviour the exemplifies those values and standards because allowing poor behaviour to continue says clearly to other staff that that behaviour is OK, but it also says to them you don’t care enough about them or the company to stop it

So, my question to you is – how will you change your management style in 2020?

If you’re looking for ways to enhance your management style, join us for the upcoming Authentic Leadership Summit being held in Sydney from the 17-20 March 2020. Back for its 5th year, keynote speakers include, Ita Buttrose, Larry Marshall, Tim Kelsey and Mike Baird to name a few. Early bird pricing is available in until the 14th February 2020 – book here.