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Why it’s important to get this right

Leading in this way creates a whole new culture

Welcome to For Leaders, your go-to source for essential leadership insights and perspectives shaping today's world.

In this week’s newsletter:

  • Strategic Summaries: Key insights and takeaways on the importance of authenticity

  • Words of Wisdom: A powerful leadership quote to inspire

  • Leaders’ Library: What we’re reading this week

A curated community of leaders.

Strategic Summaries

A weekly roundup of the most interesting, useful and thought-provoking articles to help you be a better leader. This week we’re focusing on authenticity.

Authentic leadership. How legitimacy, ethics, and positive psychology drive organizational performance

Our take: The term ‘authentic leadership’ is an approach based on a positive ethical climate – it fosters self-awareness, transparency and balance in relationships, and a strong moral code in decision making. 

It requires you to show both your strengths and weaknesses, leading to relationships built on honesty and trust.  

It also requires you to have an internalized moral compass you can use to regulate your behavior, matching the decisions that need to be made with your core set of values.  

Key takeaway: Research has demonstrated that authentic leadership can be a powerful way to drive top organizational performance.

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Your leadership image. Why it’s important to get it right and 5 ways to be a more authentic leader.  

Our take: Authenticity is an alignment between your values and beliefs, and how you behave in the world. When these match, the decisions you make will reflect who you are. 

Does who you are correspond with the way you lead? Or have you built a ‘leadership image’ based on who you think you should be as a leader? 

It can be interesting to ask family and close friends about who you are, compared to colleagues. If you are showing up much differently at work, this may come across as inauthentic.  

Key takeaway: Authentic leadership has been shown to foster more engaged and motivated employees, and a psychologically safe work environment. It also takes much less energy to show up as yourself, no matter what the situation.   

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Executive presence vs. authenticity. This article highlights the importance of finding your own path to authenticity.

Our take: Many leaders are coached to develop “executive presence,” honing how you project yourself to ensure you are inspiring confidence to your team, peers, and stakeholders.  

The implication is that successful executives have a similar “presence” and that you need to hone this in order to achieve the same level of success. 

Which can be difficult to do with sincerity if you aren't naturally an outgoing and gregarious person. But as the authors in the ‘leadership image’ article above wrote, trying to be someone you are not is exhausting and can lead to burnout and dissatisfaction. 

Key takeaway: Showing up as your true self allows others to be themselves, too. Leading in this way creates a whole culture of authenticity, rather than just a team who is impressed with your confidence.

Words of Wisdom

One weekly, impactful quote for leaders.

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest achievement.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Leaders’ Library

Every week, we share an interesting long-form piece of content to contemplate.

Today we’re reading the article, A Psychologist’s Guide To: Being Your Authentic Self, featuring psychologists Emma White and Jasmijn Eerenberg. 

The authors start off with a reminder that living inauthentically can be caused by many things (e.g. trying to fit into a particular group or the need for confirmation), but that this does not allow us to live the lives we want for ourselves. 

They introduce psychology professor Stephen Joseph’s equation: Knowing yourself + owning yourself + being yourself = leading an authentic life. This leads to fulfillment, satisfaction, confidence, and increased problem-solving abilities.  

 

The article also includes exercises to help you understand what your values are and if you’re living and leading in alignment with them. Imagine it's your 80th birthday and someone is giving a speech about you – what do you hope they will say?

Thanks for reading! We’ll see you next week with more powerful leadership insights and inspiration.

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