Business How to embrace authentic leadership

How to embrace authentic leadership


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Kamalesa digital strategy expert with over 23 years of industry experience, is the author of The Human Side Of Digital Business Transformation.

When I started my career in business in the late 1990s, I developed a certain understanding of how to be a successful woman in business based on my observations of the leaders around me. The traditional leadership style ran on a vertical structure, with decisions coming from the top and filtering down. Such approaches valued autonomy and self-direction, allowing strong personalities to inspire those around them through their guidance. However, I found that an overt display of vulnerability and emotion was often seen as a weakness, especially when shown by female leaders.

As I gained experience over the years and developed a more vital self-awareness, I came to understand that authenticity and vulnerability are valuable expressions of strength in leaders. Showing your authentic self, especially in a business environment, can come with uncertainty, risk, and judgment. However, as humans, we all face life situations and emotions that we need to manage, regulate, and process in a healthy way. Forcing ourselves to ignore those aspects of work where many of us spend most of our day can affect our effectiveness and our ability to make good decisions.

As a business leader, I have made a conscious choice to lead in an authentic, honest and approachable manner, which sometimes goes against the norms of the business world. Being an authentic leader means being true to yourself, your values, and your beliefs, while being transparent and honest with those you lead. Unfortunately, I believe the constant pressure to embody an idealized version of ourselves has become the norm in the business world. By doing so, we risk creating artificial and ineffective leaders while fostering a negative corporate culture.

Bill George, Harvard Business School professor and author of True North: Emerging Leader Edition, emphasized in his book that true leaders are guided by personal and altruistic motivations and constantly adhere to their fundamental values. In addition, they lead with empathy and foster meaningful connections to achieve greater success through self-management.

As we enter the new year, we are already facing a host of challenges, including a slowing economic climate and mass layoffs in the technology industry, which will have a ripple effect on the global business landscape. Now more than ever, I believe we need a new leadership era to pave the way for a transformative organizational culture.

Best-selling author and University of Houston professor Brené Brown is known for her research on courage, vulnerability, shame and empathy. In The Power of Vulnerability: Teachings on Authenticity, Connection, and Courage, Brown shared her insights on vulnerability. I learned from her that being vulnerable can be daunting, but is essential to creating meaningful connections and cultivating empathy. Authenticity requires an opportunity to be vulnerable. Without it, our relationships could lack openness and limit creativity.

From my perspective, to become an authentic leader, you must stay true to your values, speak the truth, admit your mistakes, and ask for help when needed. It takes strength, confidence, and self-awareness to openly display authenticity and vulnerability. In doing so, I have found that allowing yourself to be authentic and vulnerable as a leader creates a psychologically safe work environment where employees are encouraged to be themselves, accept failures as an opportunity to learn, embrace all aspects of themselves and show empathy . each other. This environment inevitably lays the foundation for a strong organizational culture that empowers people, builds loyalty and stimulates creativity.

Over the years I have worked with and for managers who hide behind a facade of being strong, directive and in control. I often felt emotionally and mentally exhausted as these managers led from fear and uncertainty. As I climbed the corporate ladder and achieved success, I was determined to dismantle the idea that authenticity and vulnerability are weaknesses. By focusing on showing human emotions, reactions and abilities while recognizing the same in others, I felt more satisfied with my leadership skills.

This year, I’m calling on other leaders and management teams to show authenticity and vulnerability and create a more people-centered business environment. Personally, I’ve found that sticking to your values ​​and staying true to yourself as a leader can create a sense of accomplishment and pride. Wherever you go or whatever you do, your authentic self is a constant you can rely on. Business Council is the leading growth and networking organization for entrepreneurs and leaders. Am I eligible?

Shreya Christina
Shreya has been with for 3 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider team, Shreya seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.


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