“That’s been one of my mantras — focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.” – Steve Jobs on Leadership
We are going to provide you with valuable tools to use on your path of authentic leadership. Authentic is the key word. Anyone can call themselves a leader; anyone can be given a title that comes with “power” over others. The truth is, a significant number of leaders in the business and political world are simply managers of people with titles or by some form of default are in control of others. This is not a criticism, only an honest reflection of the leadership void that exists in our culture. This void may present opportunities for you. By building your authentic leadership skills with the right tools and committed practice, you have the opportunity to differentiate yourself from managers and other leaders
Identifying Your Leadership Style
Authentic leadership is about finding your style of leadership that is consistent and true to your values and beliefs – your inherent, authentic self. Although there are many great leaders to emulate and some excellent books about leadership to learn from, a challenge arises when you try to copy a style or approach that is not consistent with who you are and with your innate skills. If you choose that path, you inevitably begin wearing different masks and being different things for different people. It is very stressful and draining trying to be someone other than who you really are.
This form of inauthentic, “copycat” leadership can be seen most often in decision making and problem solving. When confronted with a challenge, these individuals will tend to fit what they are seeing into their programmed models and solutions. What has always worked for others in the past, may not work now. This process is linear and yields replicative thinking. It may be safe and easy, but most often- more of the same, gets us more of the same. It may result in approval from peers (for it often mirrors their thinking), but often the problem does not get resolved. Most commonly, the leader and the company remain stuck.
Traits of an Authentic Leader
To measure a leader on their level of authenticity, here are 3 essential elements to look for:
1. Boldness: They are willing to explore new ideas and concepts. They are present; when confronted with a challenge or fear, they will lean into it and take action. They are transparent in their communications and rigorously honest with them-selves and others
2. Empowerment: They naturally surround themselves and collaborate with strong, independent thinkers. They are aware that these individuals will challenge them to grow within and without.
3. Innovation: They are flexible in their thinking, always aware of the Law of Impermanence – knowledge that everything is in a state of constant change. They are aware that they must activate and create change, or become a victim of it.