Authenticity as an inclusive leadership behavior
A star client said something that caught our attention the other day. He said that leading today requires more revealing than it does concealing. Here's what I think that means: in times of great change like we are in today and probably will be forever, people look for ways to gain a foothold, a sense of confidence that things will be all right. They especially look to their leaders for signals of what's to come. Leaders are often in a position of knowing things about the future that they cannot share or suspecting things that they think they shouldn't share or fearing things that they have not sorted out for themselves.
This senior leader was saying that leading in these times requires revealing what you are thinking and feeling. It's a prerequisite to being seen as an authentic person and, therefore, someone worth listening to. People have become very savvy about deception, especially with the number of scandals we've witnessed in business and government lately. Why should anyone believe you?
Authenticity is honest expression of your candid point of view, even when you are not sure what your point of view is. If things are truly unpredictable, and in these times that is more and more the case, then people need something to hold onto. They will gravitate to the people they trust and these will the ones whom they believe will be candid, open, and authentic about the state of affairs as they see it. In the absence of certainty, authentic connection, created by revealing what you truly think and feel about things, will have to do.