Leadership is not just for CEOs – 4 traits of authentic leaders

Leadership is all embracing and not just the preserve of CEOs.  As anyone who has a led a team knows, a group of employees does not make an effective team. Great leaders excite and motivate people to achieve extraordinary results. If you develop great leadership skills, you will stand out whatever level you are at. These skills will also help you when seeking your next much-desired promotion. When interviewed for our everywomanClub Perspectives Videos, everywomanClub members frequently cite authenticity as being key to great leadership. Authentic leadership is simply about being the best leader you can be, whilst staying true to your personality, values and talents.

Would you describe yourself as an authentic leader?

The demand for authentic leadership has never been greater, everywomanClub members also tell that us leadership skills are high on the agenda when seeking the next step on the career ladder so have you got what it takes to be an authentic leader? Here are 4 traits of authentic leaders.

1) Authentic leaders tune into the organisation and understand what is going on beneath the surface.

They sense the mood and feeling around the workplace and the team, maximising their own awareness of what’s beneath the surface.  They modify their behaviours and respond to the needs of their teams whilst remaining true to who they are.
  • Notice the behaviours and the mood around your business and around your team. 
  • What is it telling you?  What do you feel your team want or need from you, given this environment?

2) Authentic leaders understand themselves and the core values that drive them.

They know the strengths that differentiate them and the weaknesses that require the support of others.  They take this understanding and determine what to disclose to strengthen relationships and inspire the action of others.
  • Think about the behaviours that are important to you and those that you value in others. 
  • How does this come across in the way you communicate and act?

3) Authentic leaders understand what motivates their teams in the broadest sense.

They know when to empathise and be more personal and then when to step back to keep people focused on organisational goals.
  • Think about really understanding each of your team, how well do you really know and understand each of them?  
  • Think about what’s important to them and happening to them in their life – both in and outside work.

4) Authentic leaders create a clear and compelling picture of where the team fits in.

They understand the role their team plays in the bigger picture and where it fits into the organisation. They communicate clear and actionable steps demonstrating what needs to be done and why, and ensure that energy is translated into desired outputs.
  • Think about your business or organisation and where your team fits in.
  • What is your vision for your team or part of the business?  What does the future look, feel and sound like? How does your team fit into this and how may they personally benefit?
  • Think about how you can communicate this so that you reflect your values and your needs. 
  • Then start to think about how you can connect your vision and its articulation into tangible steps towards this.
Did you recognise yourself?  Whether you did or not, there is always scope to learn and practice how to lead a team to be the best that it can be.  Start off by downloading the everywoman workbook, Leading a Powerful Team (member login is required), and complete the exercise on page 11 to explore what authentic leadership means to you and how you embrace key principles whilst developing your own style.


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