#BeYourselfAtWork – the No.1 stumbling block

From Courageous Success Growth Inspiration

90% of iAM questionnaires contain statements like, I am an over thinker, I worry what people think of me, I lack confidence and try hard not to show it.

This week, as with every week I see, hear and feel in everyone the insecurity that stops us being ourselves at work. 
Also this week, research by LinkedIn was shared in HR Grapevine under the headline ”British workers are staying in roles they are unhappy in, with a lack of confidence preventing them from securing their dream jobs…” The study found that 42% of workers said a lack of confidence would deter from applying for a new position.  We know that this applies globally.
It’s one thing to know who you are (iAM), it’s another to believe that you are good enough.  Again and again, I meet people who seek mine and other’s reassurance.  Even if they don’t ask for it – if I give it, their eyes light up.  People will ask me, what is stopping me having confidence in myself Liz, and my response is always the same;

  1. You.
  2. Patterns and cycles of your own behaviour that mean that you are compromising yourself at work.

The minute we doubt ourselves, even the tiniest bit, we start to change our behaviour.  We might push a bit more assertively (I hate that assertiveness behaviour is still being “taught”  at work – urgh!).  We might hold back and over think our approach, or in meetings, we may not jump in and say what we really think – and if we had, it could have changed the discussion.  We start to conform, rebel, step up parts of ourselves that we then overdo.  We take it all on ourselves or we start to avoid and procrastinate.  Every day, every hour I experience this in you. 
What’s fascinating is that it is so easy to change!

The average Courageous Counter scores of the questions “I don’t conform to be liked” and “I don’t let my mood get affected by others” are around 4/10.  Often lower.  These two simple examples of blockers to being yourself at work can be changed in an instant. How?  You choose not to let your mood be affected by others, by realising that they can’t affect your mood – only you can. You decide to be conscious of not changing yourself to fit and instead express who you are with enjoyment.
More difficult is “I like myself, I am one of the best people I know”.  What is wrong with liking yourself?  The normal answer is it sounds like arrogance – especially in senior leaders.  What rubbish!  The cost of withholding yourself for fear of arrogance makes you guarded, inauthentic and less approachable.  It also reduces creativity and your ability to maximise yourself and your business results.  So, what is the answer to reversing this to liking yourself, and seeing that you are – when you are being your real self – in fact one of the best people you know?  After all, there is a reason why people recruit in their own image!
The journey to liking yourself begins with not distracting yourself from you.  Start conversing with you.  Spend time just with you.  Notice when the voice in your head starts to tell yourself negatives and push it away – this is not you.  Most people have a low score on their relationship with themselves – so start building yours.  You are permanently in good company –  because you are with you!  Make the most of this and enjoy being you!
Here are some watch outs to reflect on and notice – are these making you stumble? 

  • Do you drift through your day and not remember the details?
  • Do you dread going to work or who you work with?
  • Do your moods change throughout the day or are they steady?
  • How stressed are you?
  • How often do you lose your temper or withdraw?
  • How much do you withhold your opinion?
  • How guarded are you?  Do you have to know people well to let them in?

  Choose to believe in you.      

Want to be able to buy your Dad a Jag?

Growth Inspiration

Twitter has been buzzing with debate and strongly worded different views (!) this week about an advert seen at a school open day and posted on twitter.  The poster ad put up around the school, tells the story of a boy who visits the school with his Dad in their family Volvo.  The young boy wishes they had a Jag like the shiny one he can see in the school car park.  So, in the story he attends the school, does well, gets a good job and buys his Dad a Jag when he retires.  In other words, the school saying ‘send your child here and they will be successful.’
How do you see this?
A great story of aspiration, having a goal, purpose and the drive and determination to achieve them, and then share your success?  Or, is the story like some twitter critics have felt,  (as reported in the news) as  “vile”, “appalling” and “wonderfully tone deaf”.
The ad may have been badly written– but isn’t it interesting to see how its core message is interpreted so differently?
Be aspirational, have a dream, work hard and you will do well?    Or, arrogant in tone and encouraging materialism?  
There is lots of evidence and research that shows having a dream and ambition in life, whatever that may be,  is a great way to create motivation and purpose, on a macro ‘life goals’ scale, as well as a micro day to day scale.

Research quoted by HBR talks about how finding ‘a clear sense of purpose’ in day to day tasks can have massive benefits to efficiency, productivity and even health. The HBR article refers to a study of Japanese workers at a large IT company ”….a higher sense of purpose as well as a sense of interdependence with co-workers was correlated with lower inflammation as well as a higher viral resistance in the bodies of the workers.’’
Research has also shown a connection between a sense of purpose in our personal lives, and good health such as reduced risk of stroke and Alzheimer’s disease, and even increased longevity.  Whereas ‘…. mindlessly performing tasks ….is a recipe for inefficiency, disengagement, and even poor health.’ 

 

So, having dreams, goals and a purpose is good for us.  It gives us focus and it can galvanise our energy and unlock our courageousness.

Hints & Tips on Finding Your Working Purpose

  • Identify and list your mission or purpose, e.g. being a force for good, changing the world, tangible success, money, helping others, beating the competition?
  • Identify your mainstream purpose e.g. financial security, enjoyment through activity, learning, feeling useful.
  • Choose your main primary purposes and begin to integrate them into your daily consciousness.  Use them when you are creating your daily goals and reflecting on what a difference you have made.
  • Ask yourself, what is meaningful in what you do? Focus on this more.
  • Identify what difference you really want to make in your role, in the company.  Make this happen.  Regularly review how you’re doing to get that positive feedback loop.
  • Create a purpose of being. How do I want to be as a co-worker, team member, leader?
  • Choose to make the most of everyday, wherever you are, not just for yourself but for others too. 

Authenticity – what if the real me is a Jerk?!

From Courageous Success Growth Inspiration

”What if your real self is a jerk?”  

Writing in the Huffington Post, Bill George the author of Authentic leadership in 2003, paraphrases another author.  He was observing that the term ‘Authentic Leadership’ has more recently been re-interpreted and used as an excuse for bad behaviour; ”being locked into a rigid view of one’s leadership, being rude and insensitive, refusing to change, or not adapting one’s style to the situation.’’ 
We know, as George states, that ”People are not born as jerks, nor does this behaviour reflect their authentic selves…. by understanding themselves and reframing their experiences, they can find the pearl inside that represents their authentic selves…that’s why exploring who they are and getting honest feedback from their colleagues are essential elements of becoming authentic leaders.’’ 
This week Isaac Getz, (professor of Leadership and Innovation at ESCP Europe Business School), speaking to HR Magazine about his forthcoming book Leadership Without Ego, said “If you’re not Trump you wouldn’t be president!”  He was talking about the fact that many Leaders and CEOs get to where they are by having an ego, ie: self-belief and pushiness, however his new book highlights that ” Leaders must abandon their egos and be truly authentic to be most effective …. if a CEO wants to transform their organisation around trust they need to start with themselves.” Getz acknowledges that ”….this takes high levels of confidence for leaders to achieve…abandoning your ego is directly connected with vulnerability. You’re responsible but you give people the keys.’’

Courageous Success clients, as a result of iAM personal values, truly understand themselves at heart, and report the positive impact on their leadership as 85%.

It is as simple as knowing who we are at heart- our iAM Values – the real us – and then being that person wherever we are.  Bringing who we are outside of work, into work.
Bill George states five qualities for authentic leadership:  understanding their purpose, practicing solid values, leading with heart, establishing connected relationships and demonstrating self-discipline.   
And we would add: being self-aware, knowing your triggers and how to manage them, parking your ego and being collaborative, showing vulnerability.  
 
The benefits of authenticity at work, reported by HBR, is significantly higher job satisfaction and engagement, greater happiness at work, stronger sense of community, more inspiration and lower job stress.   So it works.  We gravitate to, and tend to like people who are authentic.  We all want to work for and be with people we like.   
Karen Blackett, Chair of Mediacom, named by the FT as a champion of women in business and voted by her peers as the Ad industries most admired leader, recently told Director magazine;  ”The leaders that are inspirational to me are who they are. They aren’t pretending to have all the answers. They show vulnerability as well as courage.’’

Here are some tips for bringing the real you into work:

  • Be the same person at work as at home, you’ll feel and come across as more real and natural. Be true to your values.
  • Don’t make it all about you – really connect with and engage with others – listen.
  • Don’t conform, we often think of work as having to be professional and formal. None of us have ‘professional’ written on our hearts!  Be informal and normal.
  • Don’t expect yourself or try and present yourself as perfect – no-one is, showing vulnerability and admitting mistakes shows we are human and normal.
  • Be encouraging and build self-belief in others – always see the best.
  • Be open, consistent and approachable in your communication – even in difficult situations this approach builds trust.

Park your ego for good and be the real you!

Make Team While the Sun Shines!

Discovery Centre Growth Inspiration

In the UK & want to play outside today?  Sunshine!  You can play outside this Summer and all whilst boosting your team relationships by an average of 84%!  Make team whilst the sun shines!  email potential@courageoussuccess.com

What could you and your team be achieving in our beautiful woods in this beautiful weather? 

Talk to us about our High Performing Team Days at our Discovery Centre.

Every business needs high performing, powerful teams to drive success – we offer one and two day experiences that unlock amazing team energy.

94% of Courageous Success clients say that our development is different to training that they have had before.

With….

85% impact on improving work performance.

84% impact on improving motivation & engagement at work.

Over 84% impact of improving relationships with others.

 

”All rolled up in a beautiful outdoor setting with buckets of fun and perspective.”

Call us today to book or for more details;
01476 500794
potential@courageoussuccess.com

Do You Make Yourself Heard at Work?

Business From Courageous Success Growth

”78% of UK employees do not feel they are involved in decision making and have a ‘voice’ in the workplace.”

This scary statistic is from new research into productivity by Canada Life Insurance; 76% of respondents felt that their productivity was being negatively impacted at work. The two key issues being blamed were ”a negative working environment’’ (29%) and ”workplace culture including poor management and lack of recognition’’ (22%).

The research has some worrying information about culture:  ”(81%) do not agree that their line manager or boss motivates, empowers or supports them, only 26% respect their senior leadership team and less than a third (29%) understand the values that form their organisation’s culture.’’

Communication is commonly highlighted as a problem in business today and today’s matrixed, international and remote ways of working can make this an on-going challenge.
Effective communication is essential to create a highly productive workplace. Research previously shared in Harvard Business Review showed  ”companies that communicate effectively had a 47% higher return to shareholders over a five-year period.’’

So, what’s getting in the way?

The workplace is the classic place for wanting to fit in and be liked, a natural human need.  Do we wear a mask to work that means we conform and fit in – not wanting to rock the boat by sharing our real opinions or making suggestions, as we’re scared of appearing negative.

Do workplaces and teams get into a habit of doing things the same way over a long period and then forget to question why or whether things can be improved?  The ‘we’ve always done it this way’ culture. Does this give people security?

Many of today’s managers and leaders conform. Thinking that their role means that they need to have all the answers and therefore, either don’t encourage contribution from their teams or feel challenged or threatened by the opinions and feedback of others.  Are you conforming to an old fashioned hierarchical system? 

 

 

We can all choose to include people and encourage contribution – make any feedback welcome.

 

 

 

 

Here are some of our Courageous Success tips for creating effective communication:

  • Most of us are totally unaware of how well we communicate.  So start to notice.  Are you saying what you really think?  Do you hold stuff back?  Watch yourself, not self-consciously, just to notice.
  • Don’t conform, bring the normal you to work and communicate like you would at home.  When we are with people that we know and like, we naturally pitch our communication without too much thought.  We know what will upset and rock the boat and choose whether to share it.
  • Tune in and use your senses.  Not just your insecurity.  Instead of saying what will make you look good, share and pick up the feelings and feedback, the atmosphere around you and others, and react to that.
  • Be aware that others are different to you and the right approach to take won’t necessarily be your way.  Use what you know about others to share how they like to share.  If you are not sure, ask them!
  • Seek input upfront on what feedback and options people want from you.  Clarify what information or ideas people need and give them just that – rather than what you feel like sharing!
  • If it’s tricky, sleep on it or create a pause, even for a moment.  Especially with email communication.
  • Be conscious of your thoughts when interacting with others, silence your judgement and really listen.
  • When you need to achieve something, think about how you might ask your best friend – and take that approach.

Do We All Need a School For Happiness?

From Courageous Success Growth Inspiration

A new school in India will concentrate on teaching ”happiness first”, with ”learning skills coming later”.
Reported by Fast Company this week.

”It’s our view that happiness – or emotional intelligence, or balance, or confidence, or self-esteem, or any other word for feeling good about ourselves and our place in the world – is the foundation on which great lives and great achievements are built,” says Riverbend School cofounder Vivek Reddy.  A massive and powerful statement, the philosophy of the new school turning traditional ways of teaching on its head.
The founders, a group of entrepreneurs, have been inspired by the longest running study of the health of adults, that has found, by following graduates from Harvard since 1938, that our ”relationships and how happy we are in our relationships has a powerful influence on our health.’’
This ties in with so many other pieces of research and evidence about the power of happiness. Here’s just a few of them:

  • Your brain at positive is 31% more productive than your brain at negative, neutral or stressed.  You’re 37% better at sales. Doctors are 19% faster and more accurate at coming up with the correct diagnosis when positive instead of negative, neutral or stressed. Shawn Achor.
  • In a study of Japanese workers at a large IT company ”….a higher sense of purpose as well as a sense of interdependence with co-workers was correlated with lower inflammation as well as a higher viral resistance in the bodies of the workers.’’  HBR
  • Happy workers are 12% more productive than the average worker, and unhappy workers are 10% less productive. University of Warwick.

But I don’t need to tell you this – we all know this, we’re all searching for happiness, hence the massive market in ‘how to’ guides to happiness.

When we work with clients they tell us that our progammes have an 88 % impact on positivity and happiness.   Research tells us, and we know from working with our clients, that when your brain is in a positive state – your intelligence, creativity and energy levels rise and business outcomes improve.   Feeling happier impacts positively on so many aspects of work:  leadership, relationships,  feeling included and purpose.

 

Yes – we have the magic pill for happiness!! 

 

 

 

We all have a tendency to think that happiness is something that we have to find or be given.  Someone or something makes us happy, hence reaching for self-help books.  Richard Branson attributes his success partly due to ”being happy” – rather than ”pursuing happiness”.  Interesting that this is about ‘being’ not ‘pursuing’
At Courageous Success we know this, we can make ourselves happy; through our reactions to others and circumstances and by creating happiness for ourselves.
Our thoughts create our lives.  All of our feelings, beliefs and knowledge are based on our internal thoughts, both conscious and unconscious, and we are in control of these processes – we may not feel it, as we are often in a well-worn, and comfortable habit of blaming the world, or those around us, for what happens to us and how we feel about it – it’s easier to blame something else isn’t it?
However ,we can choose to be positive or negative, enthusiastic or dull, active or passive.   The difference between happy people or unhappy people is not what they experience, but how they interpret their experiences – good or bad.
We know from Neuroscience that the brain is elastic and that it is possible to change our thoughts. This proves we can all make conscious decisions to view the events in our lives optimistically, rather than negatively, and exercise more control.
Happiness is a choice.
What do we need or depend on to be happy? Is it that next pay rise, relationship, next holiday, better car or house, or when I am more successful?  Is it something created outside of ourselves or from the inside? The answer is probably both, however one of these is much more reliable and sustainable and more importantly – in our control!

Sorry, we don’t actually hand out magic pills,  but what we do is equally powerful – we help others create a positive mind-set.  How we have such an impact on happiness and positivity is because we put your power back in your hands;  influencing the relationship you have with yourself and the world around you, creating happiness from the inside and not relying or hoping about what happens outside.
72% of our clients tell us that our programme has changed their lives in some way.  Often they tell us that they wish they had been on the programme years ago, or that it would be brilliant now for their teenage or young adult children.  It would be fantastic if all of our children were given these tools and techniques at school as a foundation to living life.  But it’s never too late to start!

How will you take responsibility for your mood and experience so that you can deliver and live at your optimum? 

Ask yourself these questions;
Am I waiting for ‘the world’ or ‘something’ to make me happy?
What could I do now to take the initiative and increase my happiness?
What habits do I have that create unhappiness or low mood?   Comparing myself to others or similar?

Here are some hints and tips to nurture a positive mind-set:

  • Take the positivity challenge; for ten days  choose to see the positive in all situations and in all interactions with others. Avoid negative influences e.g. the media or negative people.
  • Be conscious of your inner dialogue: does it need to change to be more positive and optimistic?
  • Visualise what you would like to happen, where you would like to be in the future.
  • Watch your language: use positive language consistently, both internally and externally.
  • Ask yourself, what is meaningful in what you do? Focus on this more.
  • Identify what difference you really want to make in your role, in the company.  Make this happen.  Regularly review how you’re doing to get that positive feedback loop.
  • Create a purpose of being. How do I want to be as a co-worker, team member, leader? Am I  making enough effort to make a difference?
It is your choice:  make the most of everyday, whatever you are doing, and make a positive difference for you and those around you. 

Join Us!

From Courageous Success Growth

Join us for a unique opportunity to make a difference to people and the world of work.

We are recruiting experienced Developers & Facilitators

Courageous Success is a British company working internationally to transform the way the world develops people. Based at our UK Discovery Centre in the East Midlands countryside, our UK developers and facilitators work to transform people to be the best of themselves at work and facilitate teams to bring more realness and courage into their team cultures and behaviours, all to build business success. We have been identified as one of the top 7% high growth potential companies in the UK. The full time roles involve travelling across the country as well as flexible work arrangements from home and teamwork at The Discovery Centre. We are looking for special, unique, empathetic, ambitious and intuitive people who are experienced in coaching, business and learning and development who’d love to grab the chance to be part of a revolution to shake up the world’s approach to developing people at work.

You will have,

  • Experience of facilitating teams of people at all levels across business sectors.
  • A strong coaching approach to individuals and teams with the confidence to challenge.
  • A coaching qualification and be a skilled listener with a thorough understanding of business and the corporate world.
  • A strong moral compass with a genuine sense of purpose, wanting to make a positive difference to those that you meet.
  • Good attention to detail, tenacious and resilient with a strong work ethic and great intuition.
  • Strong IT skills (Microsoft suite). Good self-awareness & self-management skills.
  • A genuine, good and caring personality & a natural enjoyment of proactive independence and team work.
  • A strong belief in people with the ability to help them see the best in themselves.
  • A passion about people and a natural ability to connect with others at all levels.
  • A full driving licence and happy to travel away from home regularly.
  • An ability to unlearn what you have learnt from traditional L&D approaches, models, structures and theories.

You will gain,

  • A new role in a great working environment as part of an ambitious and really human team.
  • Quick responsibility and the tools to make a life changing difference to people and the world of work.
  • A competitive salary based upon experience.
  • 25 days’ annual holiday + bank holidays.
  • Potential opportunities for international travel. 

    Please apply with your C.V. to Nikki Heyworth, Director of Development
    nikkiheyworth@courageoussuccess.com by Friday 13th April ‘18

Have You Got Your Emotional Support Peacock?!!

From Courageous Success Growth Inspiration

‘Emotional support peacock’ turned away from United Airlines flight.  An eye catching headline this week!

A passenger was turned away from boarding a United Airlines flight with her “emotional support peacock” (called Dexter) over health and safety concerns this week.  It appears that ’emotional support animals’ have become a thing, United Airlines told the BBC that the number of support pet requests has risen by 75% in the past year.  Following this surge airlines have had to tighten the rules as the increase in animals poses a safety risk, and have now banned a number of animals including hedgehogs, ferrets, insects, rodents, snakes, spiders, reptiles and “non-household birds.” !!

There’s nothing wrong with loving our animals, but the idea of using an emotional crutch is interesting. Do we use them, and do we really need to?
We are all softies at heart, we know from our own research that 88% of us agree “I have times when I doubt myself”, our favourite (and more usual) external confidence strategy is recognition with 56% using it as a primary confidence builder, followed by control & planning (25%) and support from others (19%).

But over 90% of us don’t look within ourselves for the answers.

A study of 500 employees and 500 senior decision makers, previously reported in HR Magazine, found that 59% of workers would prefer a job at a company that provided them with regular recognition rather than one with a higher salary. Almost two-thirds (72%) of workers reported that motivation and morale would improve if managers thanked them more and noticed their good work.
Forbes has also reported that there is a $64 billion market for employee recognition.

 

Talk about relying on others to feel good!

 

 

 

Should we be replacing these recognition programmes with positive belief programmes? Helping employees find internal confidence strategies rather than relying on external strategies, crutches & peacocks.
Building confidence and self-belief from within means it’s in our control, it increases resilience, and is a strategy that can last.  We choose to manage ourselves that way.
Take control of your wellbeing!
The challenge is that for most of us, we have forgotten that the choice exists.  We don’t consciously manage our emotional reactions, we let our emotions impact negatively on others, and underneath it all, doubt ourselves.   We constantly give our power away, lack emotional strength and are not consciously aware of ourselves – and need to rely on our emotional peacock.
At Courageous Success we know that the best person that you can be is yourself, and if you choose to think more constructively and positively about situations, you will build inner strength, belief and resilience.
Our clients tell us that knowing who they really are – their true iAM Values – and using our mind tactics tools – impacts on their ability to manage their emotional response by 84%.Do you feel confident? Do you show and feel strength? Do you fully engage?
Keep your power by not letting what’s happening outside of you, wobble you.
Leave the past behind, don’t waste time and energy on what might have been, but look forward positively and take action.Imagine if we all brought this version of us to work every day?

Don’t rely on a peacock for your emotional support, positively support yourself:

  • Write down what makes you good at your job and keep them front of mind, using the positive energy to fuel your confidence.
  • At the end of each day, list three things that went really well because of you.
  • Don’t rely on knowledge and data totally to do your job, trust yourself too.
  • Recognise your strengths and play to them.
  • Be kind to yourself and others.
  • Believe in and see the best in others, and yourself.
Use your heart as your crutch, your kind actions, to support your self-esteem and know that the very best person you can be is yourself.

 

 

 

It’s Not All About You!

From Courageous Success Growth Inspiration

Developing, growing and ‘improving’ ourselves is important but it’s not all about you!

What is also important is what you think of other people, especially in your relationships at work. Thinking positively about others and building relationships and trust is important, it makes us feel connected and ourselves. Research shows there is also a clear link between putting you aside, building positive relationships with trust and business performance.

Paul J Zak has spent years researching this link and has found, (as reported in HBR): ’’Compared with people at low-trust companies, people at high-trust companies report: 74% less stress, 106% more energy at work, 50% higher productivity, 13% fewer sick days, 76% more engagement, 29% more satisfaction with their lives, 40% less burnout.’’

His research has also found that when we start to trust someone, oxytocin is released in the brain. So called a ‘sociable’ chemical, it increases empathy, a useful trait when trying to work with others. It has an impact on motivation, energy and positive culture.

Instead of asking ourselves ‘how can I improve?’
Maybe we should ask ourselves: ‘how can I see the best in others, show people I like them and build trust?’

From our own research we know that 80% of our clients have a personal value around kindness, so building trust amongst co-workers should be easy? Experiments around the world have shown that humans are naturally inclined to trust others, but don’t always.

What stops us?

Our habitual ways of experiencing and processing information can really get in the way:
Malcom Gladwell in his book ‘Blink’, talks about how we ‘thin slice’ and make judgements and decisions on small amounts of data and experience. We filter the world based on our point of view – does it fit with my beliefs and values or not?  If the answer is not – we can dismiss it – making us judgemental of others stopping us being truly open.

Then there is how we communicate, now more often than not, by email. Without all of the nuances of verbal and non-verbal communication, we can interpret the tone of emails differently to how they were intended and according to Psychology Today, we tend towards the negative.


”If the message is ambiguous, many people will automatically read the most negative emotions and intentions into it.”  

 

 

We also make inferences about people and their intentions when our emails don’t get a response.
Stress can inhibit that sociable chemical oxytocin, this explains why often when we are stressed we can avoid interaction with others.

So – how can we be more open to others and build trust?
  • Practise being open, remove your gates and guards, and let people in.
  • Be less defensive about your own ideas and opinions; ask others how to make them even better.
  • Share information about yourself. A google study found that managers who “express interest in and concern for team members’ success and personal well-being” outperform others in the quality and quantity of their work.
  • Embrace difference.  Remember that we are all unique and others are not like you so stop expecting them to be!
  • Be curious, what can I learn from this situation or others’ ideas?
  • Get out of your comfort zone. Try new things, maybe one per week e.g. listen to a different style of music, read a different source of news, broaden your experience.
  • Manage your emotional response and take accountability for your mood – don’t give your power away.

Be yourself.
The minute you are the heart-based, real you, you’ll automatically be less self-conscious and will naturally maximise your focus on others.

 

How’s Your Bulls**t Detector?

From Courageous Success Growth Inspiration

Authentic leadership is often talked about as the holy grail and gold standard of being a successful leader or manager– but do we know what being an authentic leader is?

Googling the term ‘what is authentic leadership’ brings back 22 million results with lots of articles and debate from all over the world. This week the topic has been spotted featured as follows:

  • The Australian Financial Review reporting from their Bosses’ Summit that ‘Leadership has to be authentic, big bosses say’.
  • The author Monica Ali in a BBC article shared “the cult of authenticity is flourishing”, and explored what does it mean to be “authentic”?
  • Professor Rosie Campbell in her BBC radio programme described authenticity as the ”yardstick by which we now measure many things in our society.’’

Professor Campbell’s programme examined authenticity within politics and shared how Donald Trump and Jeremy Corbyn are seen as being authentic with Theresa May and Hilary Clinton being less so. Interesting!
Of course people in the public eye are subject to far more scrutiny than us ordinary folk, but how do we gauge if someone is being authentic or not?  Is it a rational response to someone or more of a sub-conscious emotional reaction?  I think we all get a feeling of whether someone is being authentic or not – we all have great in-built bulls**t detectors!
There are many definitions of what authenticity in management and leadership is. According to research featured in the Harvard Business Review, authentic leaders are ‘genuine and honest, admit errors and stay true to what they believe in.’

Do we need to be told what authenticity is?  It is as simple as knowing who we are at heart- our iAM Values – the real us – and then being that person wherever we are? Bringing who we are outside of work, into work.

The benefits of authenticity at work, reported by HBR, is significantly higher job satisfaction and engagement, greater happiness at work, stronger sense of community, more inspiration and lower job stress.   So it works.  We gravitate to, and tend to like people who are authentic.  We all want to work for and be with people we like.

Here are some tips for bringing the real you into work:

  • Be the same person at work as at home, you’ll feel and come across as more real and natural.
  • Don’t conform, we often think of work as having to be professional and formal. None of us have ‘professional’ written on our hearts!  Be informal and normal.
  • Bring friendship and care into your relationships at work.  Listen, with openness and approachability.
  • Be encouraging and build self-belief in others – always see the best.
  • If you need to have a difficult conversation, think about how you’d approach this out of work, with either friends or your kids, and then do the same with your team.
  • Admit mistakes and ask for help , and encourage this in others. Create a normal and real environment, where help can be given and mistakes made without it being seen as failure.
  • When you need to achieve something, think about how you might ask your best friend – and take that approach.

 

Enjoy it!
Love the connections and time together.