Interestingly a couple of conversations this week have rounded on the matter of leadership – what makes a good leader, a strong leader, who inspires us and which leaders we admire. Unfortunately there seems to be more leaders that ultimately we detest. The missing ingredient seems to be Authenticity
Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.” – Albert Einstein
Across these conversations I had with different people, it seems that we are more inspired and drawn to a person who is genuine. Certainly truthfulness and honesty need to be part of the bundle. A leader who is authentic, is one who is brave enough to be transparent,show their cards. All of these are keys. Without the transparency, one is left wondering – what’s behind all that? What are the true motives? Honesty is being open and real with no hidden agendas. Truthfulness is stating what you are for and about.
Leaders aside, authentic people are just nicer to hang out with and what we should surround ourselves with in life with people who are authentic. In order to find them, we need to be authentic too.
How authentic are we?
In order to be authentic, to be honest, genuine, transparent and truthful, we need to know our own TRUTH. Who are we trying to be?
Our values and beliefs are held strongly. They dictate our actions, behaviours and decisions. Everything we do stems from our values and beliefs. They’ve been engrained in us from childhood, in our families, our schools ethos, the unwritten rules in the gangs we hung out with as kids. The companies we work for etc And then as adults life has brought us our own unique experiences. All of this shapes us and give us our own set of values. We hold our values and beliefs like our own set of 10 commandments within, our own personal rule book. Whether we are aware of them or not, they are part of how our mind works. Now saying that they are consistent does not mean they are forever. Over time, our priorities in life change and so will our values. It’s always a good idea to review and list your values every now and then. Take some time out to reflect on your values and what is important to you right now. This is your truth statement.
If you can live in alignment to your values then you can be your authentic self.
The more authentically we know ourselves, the more we are aware of and in touch with our values and those core beliefs. We know what is truly important to us and also the why. People can almost predict our response on a matter if we are in touch with our values and live by them consistently. The more aware we are of our values, the quicker we run down our checklist of what is / is not important to us and given a choice or a decision that we have to make, the more likely we are to choose the response in alignment to our own values rather than choosing what might suit other people. Being aware of our values is the first step.
And then we live in this funny old world where everyone has their own set of values, their own truths. So how can you be your Authentic self in your family, in relationships, with your friends, in work and with other people that you hang out in life with?
The first part of Authenticity is knowing who you are – your truth – your values
The second step is living by them. That is where your Authenticity shines through to others.
This means that you have to be honest to ourselves when dealing with others. Be genuine. Be truthful. Be transparent. Being authentic means that you need to be you at all times. The emphasis is really on the word be, you have to be it, BE YOU. If you say yes, it’s because you really want to and if you say no, it’s really because you mean no. At all times, being authentic is trusting in yourself and knowing that you are always right for you. Others peoples values and decisions are right for them.
Being authentic is being in your own power. It’s putting those values under your voice box and speaking from and for them all the time. Don’t go along with the crowd, lead your own life. Be assertive and honour your values and what is most important to you. When difficulty arises, recognize where it is simply a difference in values is the issue. In that case, honour those involved and try and reach a compromise or a common ground between the values and what is at play. Be genuine rather than arrogant or pushy and that is no worse than being a doormat or a push-over.
Why not try is now before the pressure of the holiday season starts – what are your Values ? What is most important to you right now ? If you are to be Authentic in your life – what will you need to say yes and no to this holiday season?