“Rediscovering the secrets to creating lasting value.”
This is the subtitle to Bill George’s book, Authentic Leadership: Rediscovering the Secrets to Creating Lasting Value.
The statement, “… creating lasting value” captures the heart of being an authentic leader. We need to ask the question, what does creating lasting value look like? What do I need to do to create it?
To answer these questions I believe we need to become more self-aware, know and claim your core values and strengths, show up with vulnerability, extend grace, and champion your people.
This is part 4 of the 5-part series on Authentic Leadership by Diana Gabriel, Certified Strengths Strategy Coach.Successful leaders continuously return to the fundamental principles that optimize human activity and fulfill their people. Click To Tweet
How do you put your values into practice? We’ve been talking about the key attributes and principles for authentic leadership. To recap, the first two are adaptability and communicating directly. Here we’ll talk about the third, putting your values into practice.
Successful leaders know that key values set the culture of their organizations. They continuously come back to the fundamental principles that optimize human activity and fulfill their people. However, values mean nothing to people unless they’re backed up with action, as Anna Crowe emphasizes in Get Real: The Power of Genuine Leadership, a Transparent Culture, and an Authentic You (Lioncrest Publishing, 2019).
Your people’s engagement is most responsible for organizational success. Great leaders regard relationships as the lifeblood of their organization. People work effectively only when they authentically relate to each other in a culture that promotes relationships. People-centered leaders like you, intentionally relate authentically to your colleagues, superiors and direct reports, thereby setting an example for your teams.
A relationship-oriented, authentic culture welcomes workplace diversity, recognizing the advantages of multicultural backgrounds and distinct abilities. Relational leaders put these differences to use, providing employee fulfillment by making sure everyone is included and valued. They respect people for who they are—not only for their technical skills, but for the relationships they cultivate.
Teamwork is critical to maintaining relationships and productivity. We accomplish more when working with blended strengths and resources. We are the sum of our parts. When this topic comes up with my coaching clients, we discuss how teamwork-centered employees experience greater engagement and fulfillment. If you authentically promote teamwork, you’ll be amazed at the levels of contribution to which people will rise.
When you set high goals for your teams, be prepared to provide a commensurate level of assistance. Give of yourself, and clear the way for people to succeed. Demonstrate that you’re willing to manage your own needs to further the team’s goals and accomplishments, putting your people’s needs ahead of self-interest for the sake of the greater good. Your people will do almost anything to please you when you go out of your way to help them succeed.
Professionalism is yet another value that sets the pace for your workforce. You can have fun and enjoy what you’re doing, but treat situations in responsible and intentional ways. Your moral code needs to reflect authenticity and excellence. Banish negativity and inappropriate behavior, and exemplify a commitment to giving your best. Authentic leaders embody professionalism by walking the walk–not just talking the talk.