To be Authentic, Live Your Values

The values that form the basis for authentic leadership are derived from your beliefs and convictions, but you cannot truly know them until they’re tested under pressure.

It is relatively easy to list your values and to live by them when things are going well. When your success, your career, or even your life hangs in the balance, you learn what is most important, what you are prepared to sacrifice, and what trade-offs you are willing to make. ~ Bill George, Finding Your True North: A Personal Guide

Leadership principles are values translated into action. Without action that supports your stated values, you cannot be authentic. The hard decisions you make in life reflect what you truly value. It is the same with the hard decisions you make at work.

Balance Your Extrinsic and Intrinsic Motivations

As an authentic leader, you must sustain high levels of personal motivation to keep your life in balance. You have to know what drives you forward to achieve new things.

 If you’re like most leaders, you may be reluctant to admit that you measure your success against the outside world’s parameters. You enjoy the recognition and status that come with promotions and financial rewards. In moderation, there is nothing wrong with that as long as you realize that is just the surface level of your personal motivation. Intrinsic motivations are derived from your life’s meaning and purpose. They’re closely linked to your life story and how you frame it (i.e., personal growth, helping other people develop, social causes, making a difference in the world).

Authenticity requires you to balance your desire for external validation with the intrinsic motivations that provide fulfillment at work.

Build Your Support Team

Authentic leaders build extraordinary support teams to help them stay on course. Team members provide counsel in times of uncertainty, offer extra assistance in difficult times, and share in celebrations of success.

Support teams consist of spouses and families, close friends and colleagues, and mentors and coaches. Leaders must give as much to their supporters as they receive from them. Only then can mutually beneficial relationships develop.

How can you put your values into action? What motivates you? Who can you ask to support you in becoming a more authentic leader? I’d love to hear from you. You can contact me here and on LinkedIn.