Wouldn’t it be wonderful to live a truly authentic life? To have the respect of your family and co-workers, to be well liked, to be trusted by all, to make your workplace and home a better place to be, and maybe even leave the world a better place when you are no longer here? Lucky for us, becoming truly authentic, although difficult, is possible.
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” –Steve Jobs
Take the focus away from more money, more power, and inflating your ego and instead turn your focus to finding your true self–what do you believe in–and pursuing your dreams in a selfless and ethical, truly authentic way.
Here are some ways leaders demonstrate their true authenticity that may help you in your journey to becoming truly authentic yourself.
1. They know who they are
Authentic leaders go much deeper than their life story, what they have been through, or the issues they have. They embrace their true self and their ethical values along with their weaknesses and use their strengths to their advantage without worrying about what others think.
2. They have high emotional intelligence
Research shows that 90 percent of top performers have high emotional intelligence–truly authentic leaders are part of this group. They understand that their actions can affect others’ feelings, they manage their own range of feelings so they can remain constructive and not destructive, they learn from and work through setbacks, they are able to genuinely show others they care, and they continue through life to flourish socially.
3. They know how to manage fear
Truly authentic leaders have learned to manage their fears by first acknowledging their fear and the causes, and then talking about their fears openly and honestly. They possess the courage to act ethically and transparently as they continue to push through their fear to achieve their goals.
4. They dream of a brighter future
Authentic leaders look outside the proverbial box and dream of all the many possibilities. They are true entrepreneurs at heart and are constantly trying to find betters ways to produce, manage, and be.
5. They genuinely express themselves
Truly authentic leaders aren’t afraid to tell it like it is–to share their true self with others. How they positively lead at work mirrors how they lead their private lives–they keep it real, not fake. They speak from their heart with passion, have a committed point of view, and are open and willing to articulate their ideas without any game-playing or hidden agendas.
6. They do not strive for perfection
Leaders who are truly authentic strive for excellence, not perfection. They tend to go above and beyond the call of duty, raising the bar as they go. They have an innate understanding of the difference between going for excellence and the unreasonable goal of seeking perfection.
7. They love and accept who they are
Truly authentic leaders accept and love themselves. They understand that no other person, their work, or any number of material possessions will fill that void of love and acceptance. Research shows that these leaders also tend to take better care of their bodies and minds.
8. They always ask for second opinions
Truly authentic leaders ask for input so they have clarity on all potential outcomes of a particular decision. They acknowledge–and this is transparency at its best–that they may have some prejudice or tendencies to look at things a certain way and, therefore, seek input from others with varying views so that they might come up with the best unbiased decision possible.
9. They leave their mark
Last, and most important, truly authentic leaders leave a legacy of inspiration, innovation, and unyielding love and respect to the next generation.
What mark will YOU leave?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Peter Economy
While Peter Economy has spent the better part of two decades of his life slugging it out mano a mano in the management trenches, he is also the best-selling author of Managing for Dummies, The Management Bible, Leading Through Uncertainty, and more than 75 other books, with total sales in excess of two million copies.