There are so many articles and books on authentic leadership trends that it is no wonder leaders are overwhelmed. Endless questions are brought up about what they should be focused on in order to be the best leader they can be in the year 2022. Inevitably, this takes away from the success of their leadership. It is so easy to get caught up in comparing ourselves to other leaders whose skills or traits we admire, that we end of forfeiting what is most important – being real and being authentic. If these thoughts feel familiar, your team might be waiting for you to be human and create valuable connections.
Where Do We See Authentic Leadership?
- “That other leader is such an inspirational speaker! She can really rally people around a cause. I wish I had that speaking ability…”
- “That other leader has a way of promoting his successes and getting noticed. I wish I could speak up more…”
- “It seems the loudest person in the room gets the most attention. I wish I wasn’t so introverted…”
- “Why does my team not engage with me in the way they do with other coworkers?
Many executives are looking back at 2021 and setting new goals for 2022, and within our coaching conversations recently they have been reflecting on who they want to show up as in the new year. Why waste time with comparisons, when it is more valuable to be yourself, and display authentic leadership skills?
A Not So New Way to Be Human
Overwhelmingly, when it gets down to the heart of the matter, most leaders just want to show up as themselves and it seems like they feel the need for permission to do that. Is this need for approval a result of their teams actions? Or is it rooted in the preconceived standard of what a manager must be like?
Many individuals in the business world think that leaders are the ones who make the final decisions, bosses who give criticism and intimidate. They do not make connections with their management because to them, leaders are there represent the company not to create relationships, so they try to maintain strictly professional conversations with them. While this is an age old stereotype, it is important to make 2022 the year where leaders are seen as human. This mindset shift within your team starts with your authentic leadership.
One leader I spoke with this week said his goal for 2022 is to show up real “with all my humanity, flaws and all.” He specified that he will “be human” at work, and let his authentic self be seen in how he communicates and therefore leads his team to success.
Think about the effort that it takes to try to emulate someone else’s style or hide your flaws from others. You might be able to do it for a moment or a day but eventually you are going to tire of putting on a show and revert to showing up as you. This is exactly what HR trends have suggested will be driven to improve in 2022!
What Does Authentic Leadership Look Like?
It is interesting what Wally Bock has to say in this article, “When the noise dies down and you stand back, you notice that great leaders do the same things over and over. They do them every day. They do them without calling attention to them. They do them without fanfare.”
Bock highlights that it is not about “the fanfare.” Authentic leadership isn’t about being ‘showy and flashy’ with rewards and personality, it is about showing up consistently. And the easiest way to be consistent, is to show up as yourself, your true self, your real self! Be human and your team will see you.
With the focus this year being to improve the employee experience to promote loyalty and engagement from your team, this humanity can make all the difference. Showing up as yourself, with authentic leadership, and giving your employees insight as to what you also need, and can offer from a human-centered approach can make all the difference. When our team members are comfortable enough to in turn be their true selves, it is so much easier to build relationships and effectively communicate to drive success.
Be Human For Yourself
Here’s a few short questions you can answer for yourself to set yourself up for success in 2022…if you decide to give yourself permission to show up as the real you:
- What 3 or 4 qualities will you be consistently demonstrating?
- What consistent messages will you be sharing with your team?
- How and how often will you show your appreciation of others?
- How will you demonstrate your humanity?
Asking yourself these questions will set you up as a leader with an idea of what direction to take, and how to be human. Sharing information with your team, asking them for suggestions and feedback, and learning about individuals preferences are all ways to build relationships using authentic leadership.
With this in mind, taking time to reflect on your year brings great value. Reflection gives you perspective, focus and gratitude to enjoy who you are and what you have created for yourself. It also points you to what you want for the future so that you can intentionally make it happen with purpose. You will struggle to be human with your team, if you avoid being real with yourself! Take 10 minutes to also reflect on the following:
1. What were your greatest successes? Did you achieve them by yourself?
2. What are the three most important things you learned this year?
3. Who are the people that have made the biggest difference to you this year?
4. How could 2021 been made easier by collaborating with other people?
5. What do you want to change about your personal or professional life?
6. How will you take action on this information forward into 2022?
We’d love to hear what commitments you are making to yourself as you move into this new year!