How to be an Authentic Leader

More often than not – people in power who are tasked with leading a large group of people are often bi-polar in their personality. What we mean is, often the “true” personality of your boss only emerges outside of work. It’s easy to see through fake people, especially fake bosses. It’s as if a cookie-cutter for being a great leader was created and bosses everywhere naively attempted to mold themselves into it—creating personae, not people, and employees can see through that immediately. Trust is vapid, turnover is high, office culture is in the doldrums, and employees are not engaged.

While we don’t want to create a cookie-cutter mold of the perfect leader, we can supply a few characteristics that every good leader possesses, in spades.

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Focus on the long term

Beating quarterly estimates is great goals to set every three months, however, don’t allow that to be your only measurement of success. Great companies need to be nurtured through hard work and patience, and the result pays large dividends over time.

Lead with your heart

Displaying your emotions and vulnerability allows you to connect on a human level with your employees. Great leaders care about people and spend their days developing employees. This doesn’t make leaders soft it makes them empathetic. Communicate directly, but do it with compassion.

Just be genuine – and speak the truth

Don’t wear your manager mask—be yourself. Everyone from recent hires to the veteran who’s been around for twenty years can spot a fake manager from a mile away. Be forthright with your mistakes and weaknesses and work everyday to be more self-actualized and aware of your strengths, limitations and emotions.

Take the initiative

Great leaders jump in—head first. Lead by example and don’t expect things to get done unless you dive right in. Companies that are lead by proactive leaders (someone who isn’t afraid of hard work and late nights) are not only more successful but also have higher employee retention and engagement.

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