Authentic Leaders are Self-Aware

When I reflect on Authenticity I think of the retirement celebration I attended for someone who had worked in the same office for 38 years. She experienced many obstacles, challenges and adversity in leadership during those 38 years, always handling everything with integrity and courage. Throughout the celebration I heard over and over again how much she was admired and respected. She leaves a strong legacy of authenticity.

This reminds me of a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt:

“A woman is like a tea bag; you never know
how strong it is until it’s in hot water.”

What does it take to steadily show up as your authentic self, day in and day out in both the face of adversity and great successes?

“Be impeccable with your word.
Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean.”
— Don Miguel Ruiz

What a legacy will you leave?

This is part 2 in the 5-part series on Becoming an Authentic Leader by Diana Gabriel, Certified Strengths Strategy Coach.

Authenticity, Legacy, Authentic Leader, Self-Aware, Confident Vulnerability, Awareness, Self-Improvement, Values, Vision, Affirmations, Assessment, Development Tools, Habits, Practices, Strengths, Strengths Based Leadership, StrengthsFinder, Leadership Coach

Lean in and contribute the best of your Strengths, even when those around you don’t. Click To Tweet

Authentic leaders know themselves well, notes Brenda Ellington Booth, a clinical professor of management at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Business.

When you are self-aware, you can claim where you are strong, openly admit to and acknowledge your limitations and weaknesses. We label this ‘Confident Vulnerability’ in the Strengths Strategy model. This awareness can help you to learn to manage where you are not strong and, in order to find workable solutions, collaborate with others who are strong in areas you are not. Focusing on self-improvement, with an emphasis on asking others to assist, is as authentic as it gets.

When you fully understand and express your vision as a leader you can then be clear about promoting it – and be more successful in getting others to believe in it. People will follow you if you have a clear vision and a passion for everyone’s future. Understanding what provokes this passion within you is important to know. Activating it will inspire others.

When you identify the values that affirm you there’s no need to focus on being well liked. You are stronger from these inner affirmations – not from the approval of others. Lean in and contribute the best of your Strengths, even when those around you don’t – this needs to be your objective. Authenticity permits you to continue moving forward, confident in knowing who you are, what you have to contribute and where you’re going.

“The essence of leadership is not trying to emulate someone else, no matter how brilliant they are. Nor is it having the ideal leadership style, achieving competencies or fixing your weaknesses. In fact, you don’t need power or titles to lead. You only have to be authentic.”
— Bill George, Harvard Business School Professor, author True North.

Strengths coaching with a Certified Strengths Strategy Coach can help you become a more self-aware leader? You’ll gain a deeper understanding of your gifts and contributions, as well as where you are not strong. Taking the time to regularly reflect on what you have noticed from your actions and experiences inform you of where your sweet spots of success lie and where your needs are not being met. Introspection can come from keeping a journal, meditating, praying or just sitting quietly. Additionally, seek honest feedback from people you work with. The Leadership Circle 360-degree assessment is the best developmental tool I’ve found that supplies you with feedback from peers, subordinates and superiors.

What habits and practices do you do to hone your self-awareness? How are you showing up and contributing in your workplace? Are you paying attention to ways you can build authenticity? I’d love to hear about it. You can reach me here, on LinkedIn, or give me a call.


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