With some of the unique stresses facing organisations today, there is renewed focus on being a great leader. Considering the amount of past corporate scandals, you could easily be led to believe that authenticity and integrity is not something leaders pay much attention to.
Many leaders are already realising the benefits of authentic leadership. Gen Y managers know they need to lead more with the heart if they are to get the best out of their staff and people are happiest at work when they feel they are making a difference, and living to their purpose. Let’s get honest here; productive and high performing staff ultimately leads to a higher performing bottom line.
So what are some of the most common traits of an authentic leader?
Being a compassionate leader means being able to respond to the needs of not just employees but also the needs of those people external to the organisations such as the local community. Authentic leaders tend to look at the greater good and for them, it is important to make a real difference to those they work with. It is compassion with true purpose.
Authentic leaders recognise that each person is unique and has differing needs, wants and values. They also recognise that employees like to be valued and rewarded and seek out reward and recognition schemes that staff resonate with. They respond to people as individuals recognizing their differences.
Authentic leaders have open channels of communication. They recognise the need to communicate so that other people feel part of what is happening in the organisations. They invite people to join into conversations and encourage feedback. Their vision is often a response to the need of the community and they encourage other people to accompany them on their journey to a better place.
They understand the impact they have on other people. It is important to them to adjust their approach so that it makes the most effective impact according to the needs of other people. In this strong sense of self, they have the ability to be resourceful, encourage and empower others and remain positive even in times of adversity.
5. Continuous learning
A good leader is aware that there is always something new to learn and they can always improve their knowledge and the way they use their knowledge. They are open-minded and are not complacent in their knowledge of themselves and the world around them.
6. Great listener
Authentic leaders take the time to actively listen to the people around them. They consistently listen out for new opportunities and solutions. They also realise the importance of good listening skills and that people feel far more engaged when they are listened to.
7. Lead from the heart, not the head.
An authentic leader adopts a strengths based approach rather than using a deficit model. They use their own strengths to draw out the strengths of others. They do not spend too much time focusing on the weaknesses of other people.
Stacey Ashley is the managing director of Ashley Coaching & Consulting.