This is a topic I visit regularly becuase it is not just important, but becoming more important as time passes. To be clear, this doesn’t mean that people are being less authentic, but the external pressures are getting greater. The need to be faster in business and psychological factors around stress is putting pressure on authenticity. People often get confused between trust and authenticity. Firstly trust is built over time, and requires authenticity as an enabler to build it. Authenticity is about being who we really are all the time. In short being consistently congruent. There is an element of not “cheating”, but really authenticity is about not cheating ourselves. As an example of we have been risk averse most of our lives, trying to convince ourselves that we are risk takers would not be authentic. The last point is links back to what I was aying about the pressures of business. As we truly are in uncertain times, we may either decide to withdraw, but conversely take more risk.
So how do we know if we are being authentic ? This all links back to self-awareness, which is no longer just a coaching skill and requirement for effective coachinh, but fundamental for effecitve leadership. We have all heard the term “Authentic Leadership”, but authenticity is fundamental for leadership and without which your followers will be lost. Leaders cannot lead without followers. Followers will only follow if they believe in the person. Belief in the leader will be driven by two things. Firstly either a track record in gettings thing done, or a set ov values which the followers identify with. Both of these characteristics must be supportrted by authenticity consistently.
We can see with the current stresses faced by leaders there are some hard choices, which will impact lives. Humans can take difficult decisions to a certain extent if they believe the leader is being fair, consistent and authentic. However, if this is not happening trust breaks down quickly and the belief is gone.
There are many ways we can practically check we are being authentic. Firstly as well asbeing self-aware, consider regular periods of self-reflection. Literally look in the mirror every day and ask ourselves the question. Never be afraid to ask for feedback either.