An Authentic Leader
There’s a growing body of literature on the topic of “Authentic Leadership” or AL. AL is commonly defined as a leader’s self-awareness, their openness and what are called “clarity” behaviors. In a nutshell, this type of leader shares information needed to make decisions, accepts other people’s inputs and shares their own personal values, motives and emotions. As I’ve been studying this data, I’ve been surprised many times that this type of leadership would need to be labelled and categorized separately from other types of leadership styles.
Lackluster Employee Performance
I’ll link the study that I’m referring to here, but to summarize, the authors found a significant correlation between this type of leadership and what I’ll call “lackluster employee performance”. This performance can be a general lack of engagement, calling in sick when they are not sick, showing up sick when they should be taking a sick day and other undesirable actions. What the authors found is that when an organization is led by and authentic leader, the unwanted employee behavior was reduced significantly. There’s an element of common sense here, but it’s nice to see it laid out in recipe format.
What the research shows as a winning model is when the leadership team is open, honest, willing to be vulnerable, and shares information needed for another team member to get the full picture, employees are naturally more engaged, have ownership over projects and contribute more fully.
Behaviors of an Authentic Leader
So… what does authentic leadership look like in action? These individuals lead by example. They are honest, fair and have integrity in dealing with their team and others. They model good behavior and positive outcomes and show a deep sense of responsibility for the team and their work outcomes.
This seems like a tall list, but if we look at in terms of marginal gains, we can start with a commitment to being open and honest in our communication. Do our team members have the “big picture”? Do we fanatically keep our promises? Do we have the humility to apologize to people in our organizations that we have offended? We can start with these basic things and move out from there.
Let’s Talk About This
If you have seen success in implementing these practices, or just want to brainstorm ways to get started, please reach out. This is a passion area for me and I’m always happy to help!
Liu, Y., Fuller, B., Hester, K., Bennett, R. J., & Marcia, S. D. (2018). Linking authentic leadership to subordinate behaviors. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 39(2), 218-233. http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/LODJ-12-2016-0327
With an undergraduate degree in Applied Management, a graduate degree in Business Administration and currently pursuing a doctorate degree in Organizational Psychology, let’s just say that business and leadership are Wil’s passions! He is also a small business owner and knows how it feels to get to the end of the day exhausted and feeling like he was not working on the right things. When we partner with a small business, we are teaming up for success. We often hear from customers that they “don’t even think about IT support anymore.” Let us help you focus more on growing your business and less on solving technology problems.