Business woman

Authenticity and Leadership are like Peanut Butter and Chocolate

We are coming into an era where success in business is going to be determined by the relationships that have been built over time.

More and more people are making their choices for work based on the culture of an organization, how much freedom they will have in their position, and the opportunities to be a contributor and make an impact in the organization. Buying decisions are not based solely on cost or value. Buyers are starting to do more research to discover what a brand stands for: mission, values, history, etc.

As a leader, how does this paradigm shift affect you? It means in every interaction you have there is an opportunity to slowly build relationships or slowly destroy them. Some of the qualities that build relationships are authenticity, warmth, curiosity, reliability, openness and good humor. This can look like making eye contact, asking question, smiling, appropriately sharing thoughts and feelings or stories, and welcoming feedback.

Business womanSome qualities that destroy relationships are being guarded, judgmental, controlling and dismissive. This can look like withholding information, being unresponsive to requests, placing blame on others, snapping at or being sarcastic with people.

Strong relationships with the people around you are a commodity worth investing time and energy into. Do not consider this play time or wasted time. This is an area that can have a significant impact on your success and your satisfaction in life. To begin the process of building relationships let’s look at authenticity and openness.

To be authentic is to share your Truth. Does this mean you share every thought that goes through your mind? No. Your every thought is not your truth.

When first working with a new client we’ll distinguish between what their ego wants to say and what their Truth is. The ego wants to lash out in pain and anger, to make itself superior to others and to win. Truth wants to be known and shared to provide an opening for communication and connection.

A Great Leader Speaks Up When Something Needs to be Said

To begin bringing forth your authenticity start by identifying what thoughts and feelings you are having around a particular person or situation. Are the actions you are taking true to what you are thinking and feeling? If there is disconnect between your thoughts and feeling and the actions you have (or have not) been taking, look to an alternative. What can you say or do that would be more true to you? What can you communicate that will ease the tension you are feeling?

People tend to assume that if you don’t voice an objection then you’re okay with whatever is going on.

If you are unclear or hesitant about what to say, share that you are not certain of what is being asked, or that you don’t know if you are okay with the current situation. Something that clearly conveys you are not bought in to what is being asked, shared, or happening. 

For example, you are asked time and again to perform a particular role within your business or an association you belong to. This role brings you no joy but you do it out of obligation and a desire to show that you are a team player and contributor. Now ask yourself, what is true for you? Likely what’s true is you’d rather do something else and allow the role to be filled by someone else for a time.

Challenge any belief you have about what it would mean if you spoke up.

If someone else were to speak up would you judge them so harshly? If not, then it’s time you stop holding yourself to such a standard. Let the belief go and speak your truth.

This first step may be uncomfortable at first but, in the long run, it will save you the stress of pretending everything is “okay.”

Those around you need to hear your truth; if not in the moment, then as soon as you are able to share it. There is a reason you had the thought or feeling and it needs to be acknowledged.

And why did I pick the title with chocolate and peanut butter? Similar to another saying, authenticity and leadership are two great things that go great together.

Leave a comment below to share something that is true for you that you’ve been holding back. Let this community support you to share yourself authentically and finally get what you want.