Leading with authenticity by Jon Pickering
Leading with authenticity
By Jon Pickering
In his LinkedIn article our CEO Jon Pickering explores authentic leadership. Looking at why its importance has become more prevalent during a time when businesses have needed to rapidly adapt and adopt new ways of working.
Head over to Jon’s article on LinkedIn or read on to learn more.
We all read a lot about the importance of bringing your true authentic self to work, but as leaders that can be quite a difficult concept to embrace. How do others expect senior leaders to act and behave? And, we have all worked with people that say one thing, but act and behave very differently in reality.
I wanted to share a few words on why I think being authentic important, and what it means to me. I have shared before my thoughts on value-driven leadership and using company values as first principles for decision-making, having ‘backbone’ as a leader and standing up for the culture. I talk openly about ‘getting the right people on the bus’, people that live by the same values.
I think that showing compassion, beyond just empathising with someone’s situation by offering real support to help them move forward, also sets authentic leaders apart – and this doesn’t mean being warm and fuzzy, it means understanding a situation and ‘listening’, which I will come onto. For me, these are the foundations, but what other leadership qualities do I think show up, if people are authentic?
Offering gratitude and meaning it, not a quick throwaway ‘thanks’ while you carry on doing something else. Taking the time out to say, ‘thank you’ and tell someone why you appreciate what they do. This links directly into the ability to give regular, open, honest, constructive feedback. One thing that is often overlooked when CEOs or senior leaders are giving feedback and opinions on ideas, they often underestimate their position of influence and how it can affect decision-making dynamics. I can speak from experience on this as I have done it myself, unintentionally. Having that self-awareness is crucial in setting the platform for constructive, unbiased debate with whoever you are engaging when in a position of authority. It is definitely worth some conscious thought when you are in your next ‘ideas’ meeting.
I was recently listening to Jeff Weiner from LinkedIn speak on YouTube where he talked about listening to people with the intent to understand, not with an intent to reply – and it really resonated. I am by no means an expert as it is such a difficult skill to demonstrate consistently, but by creating that self-awareness I have got better. Human nature is to do the exact opposite and think about what we are going to say next – we are wired for interaction. What I thought about, was how much important information I have missed and will continue to miss if I am not truly listening properly. Furthermore, it creates real connections with people when they feel listened to and understood. Like most people, I have distractions, so it is always a work in progress and something I continue to work on.
There are other qualities, but I think these are ones that bring immeasurable value to company culture and create the platform for inspiring others to achieve common goals and objectives, doing whatever it takes to deliver success, in whichever way you define success.
I enjoy sharing the content and talking about issues that get me thinking. I’d be interested to hear your views and how important you think it is to be your true self at work?