Authentic Leader

Authentic leadership is about being genuine in your actions.  Halloween and the idea of donning a costume to be someone you are not brings to mind the concept of authentic leadership.  While it is fun to dress up for Halloween and wear a mask, I wonder how many of us really get to be our authentic selves at work?  Do you have to wear a mask to work each day to fit in with your corporate culture or can you be your true self?

Authentic leadership requires that we are true to ourselves first and then to others.  Putting on a mask each day to “fit in” is no way to go through life.  It is exhausting and doesn’t serve us or our organizations well.  So why do so many people temper their true personalities to fit in at work?  I believe that it is rooted in our personality types.  The Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation™ (FIRO®) personality instrument which helps people to understand their interpersonal needs and how that influences their communications and behaviors might help explain why we hide our authentic selves at work.  The FIRO model address two fundamental areas: 

1) How you tend to behave toward others

2) How you want others to behave toward you.  

These two dimensions behaviors and needs are the basis for the instrument.

My belief is that our need for inclusion drives our behavior.  “Fitting in” at work is about fulfilling our need for inclusion.  Too many of us spend our professional lives working in a role or organization where we have to adapt who we are to our surroundings.  This is a bit sad.  Imagine if you could work in a job and for a company that appreciated each employee for not only what they do, but who they are?  If you could show up to work everyday and be your true authentic self and be appreciated for that, it would make your work much more rewarding.  

I believe that it is possible and that there is a company out there where each and every one of us can fit in and be authentic.  The problem is that we tend to settle.  Two simple questions to ask yourself:

1)  What do you do best?

2)  What do you do most?

If you don’t get to do what you do best at work very often, then chances are you are not in the right role or the right organization.  If there is alignment between what we do best and do most, the results can be dramatically positive.  The issue is that too many organizations spend time and effort working to develop our weaknesses rather than trying to accentuate our strengths.  Focusing more attention on our true talents and strengths will yield much more significant results than trying to address our deficiencies.

As you prepare for Halloween and choose what to dress up as, take a few minutes to reflect on whether or not you are being an authentic leader at work.  Do you have to wear a mask to work each day, or can you be true to yourself?  If you are not being true to yourself, it probably reflects in your behaviors towards others as well.

Groove Management is certified to deliver the FIRO-B instrument. If you are looking for an executive coach to work with a leader in your organization or you are personally looking for a coach, please contact Groove Management.  Contact us today to learn more.