Authenticity is a part of your brand, it is being who you are. Taking a deeper dive into the word, I questioned what are the traits of authenticity? These top characteristics rose to my mind when I think of an authentic person or leader:
- Self-awareness – A high level of courage and comfort with being in your own skin. You cannot be authentic, if you don’t love or respect yourself.
- Confidence – The higher the self-confidence, the more authentic you can be as there is no “shame” in being you.
- Vulnerability – Recognizing your imperfections as Brene Brown would say, accepting those and allowing yourself to feel emotions. It’s ok to be a leader and not have all the answers or know everything. That is why you hire intelligent people! As leaders we live in a fishbowl, but it is unnatural to keep all feelings bottled up inside and not expect the stress to build up. Carve out some safe “zones” of time, place or people to acknowledge your emotions and let them out.
- Consistency – Your word means something, you are dependable. People learn to expect certain behaviors from you. Consistency builds trust that leads to authenticity.
- Values driven – At the core of every authentic individual is their values. You need to know what you stand for and articulate it. Be willing to stand for those values and defend them. Build your vision around those values.
- Passion – Another common trait that most authentic people seem to display is passion. True commitment to themselves and the people and things around them, and it comes through in their communication.
Authenticity is a valuable leadership trait. In an increasingly complex and competitive industry, we are consistently making tough decisions. Being authentic to ourselves, our teams and our organizational values helps us remain grounded and navigate through challenging conversations and a fast-paced dynamic environment. Authenticity is also contagious. If you want to create an authentic culture, you certainly must lead by example. And as Brene Brown shares from her research, innovation and creativity stem from vulnerability and authenticity. So, let go of your ego and embrace your authentic self!