Great leadership is built upon the principles of Personal Leadership. Personal leadership is about the leader taking responsibility for discovering who they are, what they represent and what they are willing to live and die for. We all want to follow the lead of someone who is solid in their beliefs and values. However, often times when I speak with leaders and I ask them about their values
and philosophical beliefs I receive a list of rote responses that fall short of getting to the true essence of the leader…the authentic layer beneath the surface of the leader.

Authenticity is the net result of leaders taking the time to discover who they are at the core. If we as leaders don’t know who we are, then how can we expect our team members to know who we are? We miss an opportunity to behave in a manner that consistently showcases our values and principles. The reality is that people are always watching us in an attempt to assess our character in order to decide if we are worthy of trust and credibility. Leaders who do not take the necessary time and steps to go deep beneath the layers to determine their core principles, will vacillate and sway in their decisions and actions.

This inconsistency and unpredictability in actions and behavior is a breeding ground for distrust. As leaders, our actions and decisions should be so predictable that our teammates will know our response before we give it. When leaders are consistently living out their values and philosophy, it promotes a culture that feels safe and supportive. When leaders do not know their core beliefs and values will vacillate and sway with whatever challenge blows their way. Authentic leaders possess a calm, steely resolve and stand firm on a foundation that represents the courage and conviction of their beliefs. Leaders who are authentic leaders are confident leaders.

Authentic leaders live out their values day in and day out, never compromising their core principles for the sake of popularity or even self preservation. We like to follow people we know and like, therefore leaders need to allow people to see who they are beneath the layers. We all want to follow leaders who we believe are the real deal…leaders who are authentic. When we are transparent and allow our team members to see our true authentic selves, we open the opportunity to gain authenticity and credibility, which is the first step in building strong and lasting relationships in business and in life.