How to be authentic as a boss

Three Tips to Inspire You to Lead with Authenticity

By: David Novak Leadership

Authenticity is a popular buzz word these days.  We all want to be our true selves, right?  But it’s often easier said than done.  

Consider this scenario.  You want to be who you really are, but then fear creeps in.  What if your true self doesn’t fit in with what others expect in your organization?  Would that hold you back from getting a promotion?  Or being invited to the table for important decisions?  

While it can be risky to give authenticity a shot, there is a cost to NOT being authentic.  Your organization could be missing out on the unique things you have to offer.  And you’re probably not having as much fun or freedom if you’re focused on conforming to who you think others want you to be. 

So how can you break free from fear and learn to be more authentic?  

Here are three tips to inspire you to lead with authenticity:

  1. Be open and honest about what you don’t know. As a leader, when you admit you don’t have all the answers, you let others know they don’t have to know it all either. It’s amazing how liberating this is and how people get behind you when you ask for help. It also builds trust and gives people a chance to contribute their own knowledge. 
  2. Be vulnerable. No one is perfect.  And when you admit you messed up as a leader, you’re showing others it’s OK for them to make mistakes too.   Let’s be honest, it can be uncomfortable to share your failures, but think about how good it will feel to help someone avoid what you experienced. You can help others learn they aren’t alone in their struggles when you choose to be vulnerable. 
  3. Be Positive. When you struggle with authenticity, remember to choose a positive mindset.  Focus on the benefits of asking for help and admitting you don’t have all the answers – both for yourself and others. 

Insert a sigh of relief here!  You have PERMISSION to not be perfect, to not have all the answers, and to ask others for help.  Imagine how much better you’d feel if you let go of perfection in order to ask for help and involve others.

Kendra Scott experiences the freedom that comes from being authentic.  In her How Leaders Lead Podcast with David Novak, she shared one of her biggest lessons about authenticity. 

Kendra realized early on that she wasn’t great at everything.  There were definitely areas where she excelled, but she wasn’t the expert in all aspects of running her business.  So, she learned to focus on the things she was great at, and she hired people who were great at the things she wasn’t.  This allowed her to build a winning team who shared her core values and together, they accomplish great things together.  

Kendra role models authenticity.  She admits what she doesn’t know and has the courage to ask for help when she needs it.  

So, are YOU an authentic leader today?  Are you honest about your weaknesses?  Do you admit when you don’t know something?  Do you ask others for help?  

Now is the time to give authenticity a shot! By choosing to be yourself and admitting you don’t have it all figured out, you build trust with your team, and great things happen.  How will you be authentic today?

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