Here, Jasper shares his second article in his 7-part series on leadership, this week he focuses on what is authentic leadership and how to develop it.
In the first post on leadership, I spoke about leadership being relevant to each of us. Whenever you make a decision or take action which influences others, you are in fact leading.
Regardless of role, influence is the key. So working on and improving your self-awareness is critical for your development. It’s never too late to get going – and here’s a great starting point.
Just be yourself! No one wants to follow an insincere ‘wannabe’. What is critical, is that you give some thought as to who you are. When you become aware as to how you lead, what your core values are, what skills you possess and where your strengths lie, then you can become aware of how you need to improve as well.
Personal Brand and Leadership Edge
The terms Personal Brand and Leadership Edge are being used a lot these days, but cutting through the jargon, let’s explore the terms.
In order to be authentic and credible, strong leaders develop a heightened sense of self-awareness and make the most of who they are. What are your unique qualities and characteristics that energise you? How can you bring these strengths to your role more often? Playing to your strengths gives you an intrinsic motivation and an innate drive to perform to the best of your ability. Have you ever had your strengths profiled? If not, you should consider it.
Unique strengths and core values.
As well as addressing your unique strengths, you should consider your core values. By this I mean those values and attitudes which you actively live out and which drive your choices and behaviour on a daily basis. I do not meant the values you wish you had. Values are what matter to us, what we focus on – they’re part of our motivation. Our values get programmed early on in life although they can and do change. They can shape our lives so if you don’t know what they are, you might be pulling yourself in different directions and feeling overwhelmed which can lead to procrastination. When you note your values, make sure you can evidence them in your work and personal life.
When leading a team, department or organisation it becomes more critical to understand and develop your leadership brand. This development and communication of your brand will help you;
- Differentiate yourself from the competition whilst remaining true to yourself
- Increase your visibility in your organisation
- Ensure everyone has a clear idea as to who you are and how to best work with you (not for you)
- Become more confident and motivated as you improve your self-awareness and what you have to offer
So what is it that you will be communicating? What is your leadership proposition? Be clear on the value that you want to deliver for the business. And think about why others would want to follow you – what inspiration do you provide? What is about you that would make others believe in you and your approach?
Diagnose the current reality of your leadership performance with your ideal ‘brand’ image. What do you need to do more of, or less of, in order to close the gap? Once you have given thought about what you can do, think about how you will do it. What actions can you take to articulate, communicate and live your brand more effectively? (We’ll look at communication in its own right again in this series).
Don’t be afraid to get feedback from others. Ask your team, peers and superiors what it is that you do best. Ask them, if they could take one of your traits, what would it be? What do you speak most passionately about and most often? What do they feel that you could work on in order to improve? When you have some answers, compare them to what you had noted from your own analysis and diagnosis. Write down the key points about what you have discovered. Then ask yourself what needs to change as a consequence?
All of this is designed to raise your self-awareness. If you have a bad day, ask yourself what you at your best would have done differently? Always look inside for your answers. That is where your greatest learning will take place and how you will develop with greatest effect. Be willing to learn and improve and you will do exactly that. Be proud of yourself. Believe in yourself. Be yourself.
To book your free phone consultation with Jasper or one of our leadership coaches today: