I recently created a training on Authentic Leadership for a group of women business leaders and was struck by how much of the theory is based on the rules of conduct that my parents taught me as a child and that I still use in my business and personal relationships today.
The premise of authentic leadership is based on a Greek theory “to know thyself” and is translated to modern times to mean be yourself and treat others in an upfront and truthful manner (George, 2004). The foundational concepts of authentic leadership require leaders to:
- Be self-aware – know who you are and in what you believe!
- Be genuine – be truthful and transparent!
- Be fair-minded – get different perspectives and diverse opinions!
- Be ethical – do the right thing!
Authentic leaders (George, 2004):
- Understand their purpose
- Practice solid values
- Lead with the heart
- Establish connected relationships
- Demonstrate self-discipline
If you are wondering why is it important to be authentic and to act with integrity, consider this proposition from Bill George, who is considered the father of authentic leadership:
“Integrity is the one value that is required in every authentic leader. Integrity is not just the absence of lying, but telling the whole truth, as painful as it may be. If you don’t exercise complete integrity in your interactions, no one can trust you. If they cannot trust you, why would they ever follow you?” (George, 2004).
Leaders are accountable to those who follow them to lead in a responsible and truthful way. This will not always be easy; it will require courage, consistency, and focus. As a result, authentic leaders can make a significant impact on their followers and accomplishment of organizational objectives.
George, Bill. (2004). Authentic Leadership: Rediscovering the secrets to creating lasting value. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass
As I pondered what insights to share in my monthly blog, the lyrics sang by the famous Tim McGraw (written by Lori McKenna) came to my mind:
Hold the door, say “please”, say “thank you”
Don’t steal, don’t cheat, and don’t lie
I know you got mountains to climb
But always stay humble and kind
When those dreams you’re dreamin’ come to you
When the work you put in is realized
Let yourself feel the pride
But always stay humble and kind
These words are true for entrepreneurs as well as established corporations. We must establish a corporate culture that respects employees as well as customers. When we achieve our goals – whether it’s revenue, number of followers, winning a large contract, or growing our customer base – we can celebrate and take pride in what we have accomplished but we should hold tightly to what got us there: being humble and kind. Finally as Tim sings, we should mentor and help those following in our footsteps.
When you get where you’re going don’t forget turn back around
And help the next one in line
Always stay humble and kind
“Humble And Kind”
(written by Lori McKenna)
As summer gets into full swing, we generally start working on our fitness, wanting to put our best self forward. Now is a good time to work on updating your professional fitness as well! Set aside time to refresh your leadership skills and update your professional goals.
3W Consulting Group LLC can help you develop your professional objectives to tighten up and tone your internal and external career aspirations. Our executive coaching and eLearning courses can help you to outshine and outperform the competition.
Look great and think great this summer. Contact us today!
As an executive coach, I frequently start coaching sessions with the same question, “What do we need to accomplish in this session to make this hour the best hour of your week”? Asking this question immediately helps me to hone into what is top of mind and a priority for my client. From there, our conversation becomes a series of powerful questions (from me as the coach) and answers (from my client) to provide insight into problems or issues the client is trying to solve.
The formal name of this strategy is appreciative inquiry. Appreciative inquiry at its core is the use of open-ended probing questions that helps to establish a rapport between those seeking to communicate and/or understand each other.
Imagine the power of a question in a setting where some members of the team are looking confused or shaking their heads in disagreement about a topic. Rather than challenging the presenter by saying that something won’t work, the team member could ask open-ended questions to seek clarity regarding the presenter’s information. For example, instead of saying “I don’t think your approach to scheduling clients will work”. The statement can be reframed to a question – “What steps will we need to take to make the new scheduling process successful”? The key is to avoid closed questions that lead to a yes or no response. Also avoid “why” questions. Although why is an open-ended question, the word can imply criticism or non-acceptance.
Here are a few starter questions you can practice using:
- What ideas do you have to…
- How can I help you to….
- Tell me about…. (and follow with open-ended question)
- Where we can make changes…
- How does this fit with our overall revenue strategy…
Take your communications to the next level by practicing appreciative inquiry in every verbal interaction. You will be astonished at how much the conversation will open up and invite participation! Need help applying this concept? Consider booking a free executive coaching consultation on our website.
Often we hear “nothing’s free in life”! Well, at 3W Consulting Group, when we say free – it is really free. Until February 1, 2017, sign up for a free 60 minute executive coaching session with Dr. Rochelle Webb on our Request a Quote page by clicking the check box for a free session.
Why invest time in executive coaching? If you answer yes to any of the following, executive coaching can help you!
- I need a boost to get to senior or executive level
- I want to get into management
- I’m trying to lead but no one is following
- I’m stuck in my current position
- No one listens to me at work
- I am being passed over for promotions
After one session, we are confident that you will see our value and book paid sessions with us! See – no fine print – just a transparent and free offer! We hope to hear from you soon!
Request a free executive coaching session
How do you see yourself in your organization or team? How does your organization or team see you? Often there is a mismatch of perceptions in the answers to these two questions. I advise my clients before they can react to how others perceive them, they must first recognize the value that they bring to their organization or team so that they have an accurate self-assessment of themselves and their contributions.
Recognizing your value does not equate to conceit or unwarranted pride – it is an acknowledgement of the attributes, accomplishments, and intrinsic quality with which you work on behalf of your organization or team. Most high performing individuals set extraordinary expectations for themselves because they understand the value of their contributions and are adept at finding avenues to increase their impact on projects and the people around them.
Knowing how you create value will help focus your actions and communications and also bring clarity to others in the organization or team regarding the value you add through use of your personal reputation, knowledge, or action. As 2017 nears, take stock of your current value and create a plan for continued growth.
One of the most difficult challenges for managers today is getting the workforce motivated to contribute to meeting organizational goals, targets, and milestones. This article focuses on transforming your workforce into high performing superstars by transforming the manager. Where to start?
1. Transform yourself as a leader. Seek to involve employees in setting and achieving goals. The transformational leader creates a shared vision for the group and is actively involved with employees. Effective leaders empower their workforce. They adopt principles of trust and teamwork.¹
2. Support but don’t hover. Leaders who empower their workforce to perform their duties without interference or restrictive oversight will gain trust from their employees. Employees perform at their peak when their contributions acknowledged and valued. Clear obstacles impeding success: don’t be the obstacle!
3. Over communicate. Communication is a key component of effective leadership. Managers receive information from multiple sources but may fall short of communicating priority messages quickly or at all! By promptly analyzing inputs and sharing appropriately with the workforce, leaders ensure a culture of inclusiveness and employee engagement. In return, employees feel connected to accomplishments, emerging issues, trends, and innovations that the organization is achieving or pursuing.
Seems too easy? It is! All it takes is repetitive and consistent application of the three tips highlighted in this article and you will soon notice the change in your workforce. Try it and let me know how it works for you.
¹ Kouzes, J. M., & Posner, B. (2003). The five practices of exemplary leadership. In J. M. Kouzes (Ed.), Business Leadership: A Jossey Bass Reader (1st ed., pp. 72-84). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.