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Creating Successful Leaders

Tag Archives: genuine leadership

be yourself oscar wilde

NOTE: This is an updated post from Oct, 2015.

I sometimes get the question: “Margaret, what is the most important attribute of a good leader?”

This question is a tough one. There are a lot of factors that make up an excellent leader: trust, self-confidence, good communication skills. In fact, I talk about my top ten attributes in my book, the Ten Minute Leadership Challenge. But the one thing at the heart of it all is AUTHENTICITY.

You have to be an authentic leader before anything else. You need to know yourself, your values, how you work, and who you are before you can even consider leading others. Authenticity means having a deep understanding of your inner self and not compromising your deeply held values. Sure, you can adapt to different situations and show different sides of yourself at different times (i.e. a more casual side at home, a more professional side at work), but your core should remain the same.

superhero

How would anyone trust you if you acted like one person sometimes and a completely different person at other times? What would people think if you always agreed with whomever you were speaking, even if their assertions were way off base from what you believe?

Being authentic should be part of your personal brand. Show up, be yourself, and take a genuine interest in those around you.

I have found that authenticity is just as important as ever in the workplace. Employees of all ages and backgrounds look for candid, authentic leadership that they can trust.

Furthermore, with the popularity of social media, your comments and photos are everywhere. Yes, you should be your authentic self on the web, but you should be your BEST authentic self. Let your funny or intellectual or caring side shine!

You’ll find that being your best authentic self is a heck of a lot easier than significantly modifying your behavior and beliefs whenever you’re with a different group of people. When people say, “your reputation proceeds you,” you should know that is a good thing.

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MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS® DISCOVERY (AND DEEPER DISCOVERY) LICENSED PRACTITIONER, AND FOUNDER OF UXL. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. 
CHECK OUT MARGARET’S ONLINE LEADERSHIP COURSE.

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bill george quote

The last time I heard Bill George speak, he said something I’ll never forget:

“It’s the last three feet—The distance between you and the customer. Unless you’re a good person, you cannot be a great leader. The longest journey I’ve ever known is the path between my heart and my head.”

If you ever get the chance to hear Bill George speak, I highly recommend it. He is an inspirational and dynamic speaker with a clear message: In order to be a great leader, you need to be authentic.

Bill George is the former CEO of Medtronic and a professor of management practice at Harvard Business School, where he has teaches leadership. His book, Discover Your True North, is all about becoming an authentic leader by following your own internal compass.

Why is authenticity a crucial part of great leadership?

Because authenticity leads to trust and trust should be the foundation of any organization. If the leadership is trustworthy and transparent, then employees will feel comfortable and secure in the company. If not, employees will constantly feel on-edge or left in the dark.

Authentic leaders keep open doors and open lines of communication because they have nothing to hide. They make others feel at-ease because they do not have hidden agendas or motives.

And, authentic leadership does something else: It helps the leader. If you, as a leader, do your best to be transparent, candid, and true to yourself, you’ll walk through every day with a clear conscience, knowing that you are trying to be the best version of yourself. Your interactions will become more natural and you’ll find that others will open up to you easily.

In my book, The Ten Minute Leadership Challenge, I discuss authenticity at length, including strategies to become a more authentic leader. But I want to hear from you. What do you do to put your genuine self forward? What challenges do you face in becoming the authentic leader you’d like to be? Leave me a comment or contact me with a personal message.

Start embracing authentic leadership today!

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS®DISCOVERY LICENSED PRACTITIONER, FOUNDER OF UXL, AND CO-FOUNDER OF THE TAG TEAM. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. YOU CAN VISIT HER WEBSITE AT WWW.YOUEXCELNOW.COM

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