Authenticity in Leadership: The New Currency of Trust - LeadFit Global
Authenticity in Leadership: The New Currency of Trust
Home | Authenticity in Leadership: The New Currency of Trust
Are you striving to foster a more dynamic, transparent, and effective workplace? If so, let's explore how Authentic Leadership can be a game-changing strategy that brings out the best in both leaders and their teams. What Exactly is Authentic Leadership? To be considered authentic, one must be seen as "true," "genuine," or "real" (Lehman et al., 2019). But what does this really mean in the context of leadership? According to sources including ChatGPT (2024), authentic leadership encompasses self-awareness, transparency, consistency, empathy, a focus on relationships, moral and ethical grounding, resilience, and positive role modelling. That's quite a comprehensive list! Clearly, this goes beyond simply being "true" or "genuine" and expands on the four components commonly measured by the Authentic Leadership Questionnaire (ALQ: Avolio et al., 2018; Walumbwa et al., 2008). Why Should We Care? In today’s fast-paced world, trust is more valuable than ever. When leaders are genuine, they create an environment where everyone feels understood and valued. This is crucial because when people believe in their leaders, they feel more connected to their work and are more likely to stay with the company. This means lower turnover rates and a stronger, more unified team striving towards common goals. Facing the Facts: The Pros and Cons of Authentic Leadership
  • Pros:
    • Builds Trust and Integrity:Leaders who are true to themselves foster trust and create more cohesive teams.
    • Boosts Employee Engagement: Teams led by authentic leaders often report higher job satisfaction and motivation.
    • Encourages a Positive Work Environment: Openness and honesty lead to better communication and more innovative ideas.
  • Cons:
    • Role Adaptation Challenges:Sticking too rigidly to one’s authentic self can sometimes clash with the need to adapt to changing situations.
    • Risk of Perceived Inconsistency:Leaders must balance being true to themselves with the evolving needs of the organization.
    • Potential Misuse: The claim of 'being authentic' shouldn't be used to justify poor decisions.
A Balanced Approach: Three Steps to Authentic Leadership
  1. Set Clear Communication Boundaries: Make sure everyone knows what’s expected. Be open about what’s okay and what isn’t, which helps avoid misunderstandings and builds a foundation of trust.
  2. Foster an Inclusive and Respectful Environment:Value every voice and recognize diverse perspectives. This not only enriches your team’s culture but sparks innovation and creativity.
  3. Cultivate a Culture of Gratitude and Recognition:Celebrate every win, big or small. Encourage acts of kindness and recognize the good in each day. This positivity not only uplifts spirits but also bonds the team together.
Reflective Questions:
  1. What does it truly mean to be an 'authentic' leader?
    • Think about it: when someone is called a 'real' or 'true' leader, what does that really look like to you? It's not just about following a checklist. Being authentic means showing up as yourself, not just wearing the leader hat. It’s about being the same person behind closed doors, in meetings, or when giving feedback. Are your actions a mirror of what you truly believe and value?
  2. How often do we need to see someone acting authentically to believe they really are that way?
    • Is it enough to see someone act genuine once in a while, or do we need to see it all the time? How do you judge if someone is truly being themselves? Is it a one-off good deed or consistent behaviour that makes you trust that your leader is genuinely authentic?
  3. Should we focus more on what people do, rather than just calling them authentic?
    • Instead of quickly labelling someone as an authentic leader, shouldn't we be looking at what they actually do? Actions speak louder than words, right? Let’s think about recognizing the specific things people do that make us feel they are genuine. Maybe it's the way they handle a tough situation, or how they treat someone when they think no one else is watching.
Let's navigate these questions and more as we redefine leadership in our organisations.