Trying to be a charismatic leader when that’s not the type of person you are is incredibly difficult and really stressful. In truth, it’s always hard to be someone you are not. Instead, the best thing you can do as a leader is to tune into your own strengths and weakness in order to lead authentically.
When you lead authentically, you are effortlessly powerful. Authentic leadership is rarely taught, but according to professional coach Amy Kan, high authentic leaders have 4 traits in common. You can find those traits below—and hopefully, learn from them in your quest to be an authentic leader.
Aligned with core values: Living in line with your values is key to being authentic. Values should guide your choices and decisions, so knowing what they are is critical. Make a list of all the values you care about and rank them in order of importance to you. Think about these values in the context of leadership. For example, if you rated family as a core value, how does that show up for you in the workplace? As a leader, are you aware of and understanding of the family responsibilities of the people you manage? If you realize that your behavior as a leader is not aligned with your core values, reevaluate how to incorporate them. Misalignment is a key indicator that you are not being authentic.
Driven by a purpose: If your values guide you, then it is your purpose that drives you. What do you want to accomplish in your life? How do you want to be remembered? Having a sense of purpose, of why you do what you do, can keep you on the right track. As an authentic leader, your purpose can provide clarity to you and to those who follow you.
Centered on people: To be authentic, you need to do more than acknowledge your feelings; you need to act upon them. Leading from the heart couldn’t be more important right now. As a leader, you are responsible not just for revenue, budgets, or products, but most importantly for people. People who are your customers, your suppliers, and your employees.
Based on continual growth: A growth mindset is one in which you are always learning from experiences, and it is something all authentic leaders have in common. They can draw on their past experiences, recognize, acknowledge and learn from their mistakes, and learn from others. They are willing to make changes based on what they learn and shift strategies and policies.
At a time where so much change is happening in the world, are you willing to listen, learn, and act? An authentic leader rights their wrongs, learns from experts, and continues to participate in new conversations.