What do you think about when you hear the word “authentic”? Do you think about a person you know? Do you imagine it as something gritty or raw?
Maybe you think of the phrase “keepin’ it real”? (The Chappelle Show showed us what happens when “keepin’ real goes wrong). Whatever your mental image, the world is desperate for authenticity in leadership!
The word authentic is defined as not false or copied; genuine; real. It’s a word that has been carelessly thrown around (much like the word “love”. Do you really “love” that burrito?!).
Authenticity is something that is often attempted by manufacturing it. A task that seems to contradict the very goal it is trying to meet. I know that I have been a repeat offender of this crime and I’m willing to bet you’ve done this a time or two yourself.
When you aren’t trying to manufacture authenticity and you just are authentic, just real, just yourself, then you are, what leadership blogger, Joseph Lalonde, calls, awesome! And don’t you want to be awesome?!
There are definite do’s and don’t’s when it comes to being authentic and I’ve identified 3 key premises or laws that you must live by to be authentic.
- Authenticity is more important than perfection. That is actually a quote from Marcus Buckingham. He is the author of StandOut: The Groundbreaking New Strengths Assessment from the Leader of the Strengths Revolution. He advocates leadership through your strengths.
Think about it. If you’re leading from where you’re naturally stronger, then you’re probably leading more from the real you (aka authentic you). People are actually accepting of mistakes as long as they believe that you made them from a genuine attempt to lead well and not to appear a certain way that you think is more appealing.
If you’re interested in what your strengths are, buy the book and get a code to take the assessment yourself. To get an idea of what kind of information you’ll get, you can see My StandOut Assessment Results
- Authenticity is not an excuse to under-perform. This does not contradict the first law. While it is understandable to not be perfect. It is not acceptable to do anything with less than excellence. Your intent may be pure and right, but if you’re not good at a particular task or set of tasks then stop doing them or delegate them.Pastor Perry Noble, senior pastor at New Spring Church, said on his leadership podcast that people who perform poorly and want to call it authentic are actually just authentically bad at what they’re doing.
- Authenticity is a lifestyle. If you are only authentic in one or two situations, then that would violate the definition of being authentic. Authenticity means that you are the same regardless of where you are or who you’re around. To go back to law #1, you don’t have to be perfect in this area but you should strive to be more authentic every day and in every situation.
Authenticity can be one of the greatest assets to you as a leader. We all yearn to follow someone who is not false and is genuine or real. I believe you have the ability to be that leader, do you?
[reminder]Recall a time that a leader you had (boss, pastor, mentor, ect…) exhibited authenticity. How did affect your view of him or her?[/reminder]