Being Authentic

Posted October 26th, 2010 in Leadership by admin

It’s interesting that in the past few days I’ve had heard several people referring to being their authentic self or being true to themselves. I started to reflect about that coincidence and how I have been impacted by the same need in the past and how it continues to shape my future. The challenge seems to be even more so for those who hold or have been placed in leadership roles as very often they wear a mask to fulfill what people expect them to be.

I remember when I started a new position as a manager for an office. I didn’t live in the community so I would arrive on a Monday morning and then leave later in the week depending on what my schedule required. I wanted to let everyone know I was in the office and available for them. I would grab a cup of tea and wander the cubicles briefly chatting with those present to share our weekend stories, find out what’s going on this week and to let them know I was there if and when they needed me. It was a demonstration of my compassion and leadership to them – they had become part of my new family and I cared for them and their community!

Their community was undergoing some tough times with mills shutting down, families having to move and there was some real concerns for the office future. I started the Monday afternoon Fireside Chat over the coffee break for people to share their stories and activities and to identify rumors that myself and the other members of the management team could check into and report back on. It created a very positive atmosphere around the office and I believe enabled the trust factor to build. It was my way of showing my authentic self – my caring and compassion for their community and its challenges. If I was not authentic it would be very apparent to them and I would not have been true to me. My personal trust factor and confidence in myself would have dropped.

After leaving my organization earlier this year, I have watched its trust factor drop rapidly as a result of how change was being implemented. Had I stayed, I would not have done well as I would not have been able to maintain my authenticity and honor the values I hold dear.

I would like to ask – how do you bring your authenticity to your position? What is allowing you be authentic and how does it drive your passion? What are your values and how are they reflected in your work and how you carry out your duties? We’d love to share and learn from your experiences!

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