“To thine own self be true”
– William Shakespeare
Last week I wrote about the workshop presented by Professor Gareth Jones, a Fellow of the Centre for Management Development at London Business School. The article has received high attention from readers and a high click-through rate in social media vehicles, so I wanted to follow-up with one more aspect of the Community, Authenticity, Significance, and Excitement (C.A.S.E.) leadership framework.
While the whole model is valuable and synergistic, I found the “Authenticity” portion the most refreshing.
What does a leader look like?
You have an image of that perfect being. Deep inside you’ve been programmed with this stereotype. Admit it to yourself.
However, the research Professor Jones and his partner, Dr. Rob Goffe, Professor of Organizational Behavior at London Business School, prove that all models of leadership eventually become extinct – therefore wrong.
Credibility and Trust
Think about the best bosses you’ve had in your career. If you’re like me, these people have a diverse skill set and background. Yet, what they have in common is that they earned my trust. That is no different than what your followers expect from your leadership. Whether you face it or chose to ignore it, YOU ARE A LEADER. The question then becomes how you exert your leadership. If you want to be successful, like those bosses you recalled, then you need to earn the trust of your team.
People only follow people who they trust and believe. Volumes of research validate this. In order for people to believe you, you have to be yourself. Period. The moment you fake your actions your followers will see through you and disengage. This is why in spite of the organizational expectations or pressures you must remain true to yourself.
Professors Jones, in his workshop, provided 3 Principles to remain authentic:
- Consistency between words and actions – do what you say you’re going to do, all the time.
- Provide a common thread in your role performance – be consistent in your behavior, weaknesses and strengths.
- Be comfortable with your origins – remain true to your roots and whole persona.
At first read, these 3 Principles seem extremely simplistic. And they are, but ask yourself “how many leaders do I see living these 3 Principles consistently”? The answer is obvious – the simplistic is rather difficult, especially over time.
WIFM (what’s in it for me)
Beyond the business aspect of being better leaders, following this advice keeps you closer to your core values. I’m dumbfounded by people who say “I’m this way at home and that way work” – to me, with all due respect, it seems hypocritical and burdensome to try to be two different persons. By being yourself at home and at work, you will not only be a more effective leader, you will find yourself happier altogether.