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10 Authentic Leadership Characteristics

Guest Post Written By Andrée Funnell

So what is “Authentic Leadership” – it’s a recently derived modern term for what is known as a more inclusive approach to leadership.

Authentic Leadership is based on the principle that a leader can be more successful and prove their legitimacy to be a leader.  They are able to nurture sincere relationships with others and have a higher level of Emotional Intelligent than non-authentic leaders.  Consequently, this means they have an understanding of both themselves and others.

An authentic leader encourages an open culture and inspires people to be more open and authentic.  They appreciate their support in the success of the organization. They are comfortable promoting success and particularly in the form of both individual and team performance.

We see authenticity in people from all walks of life – people who are just really comfortable in their own skin. They feel real and natural. They ‘say it how it is’, yet with compassion and awareness. These are the people we tend to trust in life because they are authentic.

Do you have the qualities to be an authentic leader?

1. Self-awareness

Self-reflection is a key attribute of an authentic leader.  They are able to reflect upon their actions and decisions and have the ability to examine their strengths and weaknesses without judgment or bias. They are able to see their development needs clearly and deliver on their strengths.

2. Transparency

Authentic leaders believe in open and honest communication.  They are able to combine their directness with empathy leading to trust and success. They project the same image at work as they do at home or in social events. They don’t act as an ‘Imposter’ and are able to show their mistakes and weaknesses.  They have the courage to actually be who they really are and are comfortable in their own skin.

3. Lead with vision

Authentic leaders lead with purpose and vision. They are capable of adding value to people they interact with by helping them to realize their higher professional goals and a more authentic and fulfilled personal life. They develop and drive themselves and others around them to raise the bar and aim for excellence.

4. Lead with heart and feel emotion

An authentic leader is able to look inward and is not afraid to dig deep to identify their innermost feelings and emotions.  They lead their team with courage and empathy that is derived from listening to the heart.

5. Integrity

Strength of character is essential for an authentic leader. They are open, honest, and constructive and don’t say things that they don’t mean.  This earns them respect from others due to this strong quality. People trust them because they keep their word, no matter what it takes.

6. Listening skills

An authentic leader will consider ideas from others with an open mind.  They have the ability to listen and reflect on other’s views and opinions and are not afraid to change their opinion if the other person’s argument is constructive and makes sense. 

7. Focus on long-term results

They are capable of seeing the bigger picture and therefore don’t tend to waste precious time unnecessarily worrying over temporary setbacks.  Nor do they dwell on the past but look to the future. They know that patience and hard work do take time but yield rich results in the long run.

8. Share success with the team

Authentic Leaders are known for building an effective team and are happy to share the credit, successes, and achievements with others where it is due. This is a trait that sets an authentic leader apart from other leaders. 

9. Consistency

Consistency is another trait of authentic leaders. They stick to their principles and core values no matter who or what they are dealing with. Their behaviour is consistent, and they are not easily swayed by superficialities.

10. Drawing on experience

Life is a great teacher and authentic leaders are adept at drawing lessons learned from their own life real-world life experiences and use these experiences to led and develop others effectively.

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