YOU CAN TAKE steps to help others perceive you as an authentic leader--worthwhile if you care about running an effective organisation. The short list of "authenticity" involves getting to know yourself, getting to know others, and connecting to the organizational context better. The expanded list offers an effective prescription.
Get to know yourself better by:
- Exploring your autobiography. Familiarize yourself with your identity anchors--the people, places, and events that shaped you.
- Returning to your roots. Take a holiday with old friends.
- Avoiding comfort zones. Seek new adventures and take some risks.
- Getting honest feedback. Ask for 360° feedback.
Get to know others better by:
- Building a rich picture of your environment. Find out about people's backgrounds, biographies, families and obsessions.
- Removing barriers between yourself and others. Selectively show a weakness or vulnerability that reveals your approachability to your direct reports, assistants and so on.
- Empathizing passionately with your people. Care deeply about the work your people do.
- Letting others know what's unique (and authentic) about them. Give people feedback that acknowledges and validates their origins.
Connect to the organizational context better by:
- Getting the distance right. Be wary of creating the wrong first impressions. Use both your sense of self and your understanding of your opinions to connect with, or to separate yourself from, others.
- Sharpening your social antennae. Seek out foreign assignments and other experiences to help you detect the subtle social clues that may spell the difference between your success and failure in attracting followers.
- Honoring deeply held values and social mores. You are unlikely to make connections by riding roughshod over other cultures' strongly held beliefs.
- Developing your resilience. You will inevitably experience setbacks when you expose yourself to new contexts and cultures. Prepare yourself by learning about and understanding your own values.
Rob Goffee and Gareth Jones -- "Managing Authenticity" in Harvard Business Review, December 2005. Sent mail2blog using Nokia 9500 O2 Typepad service.