How Leaders Become Authentic by coaching, mentoring and displaying Empathy- Lisa Askwith- Engaging Your People for Success
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Most leaders are very comfortable in managing the day-to-day performance of their people. Leaders within your organization were likely promoted from within and have demonstrated mastery in their technical area. As your organization grows there is a need for your leaders to evolve from telling, or using a directive leadership approach to coaching which relies more on asking thought provoking questions. Your managers and leaders no longer have to have all of the “right” answers but they need to know how to ask the “right” questions.
Leaders would not be where they are if they did have the skill to manage the day-to-day activities of their teams. Leaders often have to wear multiple hats that include both managing the performance of the team and taking a role in the development and growth of the team members. Leaders that Act more like coaches help to develop the growth of your team members as a way of supporting and meeting the overall objective of the organization and the team. Performance still matters. Deadlines still matter.
Leaders as coaches learn help the team members become more aware of any issues or beliefs that may be holding back progress toward their goals. Plus they take the next step and they become respected authentic leaders that fully engage with your people. If they lead from a coaching and mentoring perspective they are asking questions and supporting solutions. This not only creates massive value in any business, but leads to a fully engaged team that will excel and create more than the norm.
Exceptional leadership is a key success tool in any business, and it takes effort, time and experience to achieve. It’s not an overnight thing, or something that you can decide to have, or do. However, getting it right can improve your culture, leading to growth and innovation as well retaining your talent and how Engaging your People to achieve this will deliver you maximum success across your company. Authentic leadership and trust recently are becoming key business needs. Particularly as we are in the middle of a global pandemic. Trust and authenticity has been becoming more and more necessary in business, but when you hit a crisis, like now, it becomes critical.
People are scared, they need to be able to trust the direction, and if they can’t they move on, underperform or degrade the culture further. On the flip side when you have authentic leadership in your business, the culture becomes one of support and innovation, your people are engaged, and feel supported and happy, and that makes all the difference to your entire business. As with authenticity, your people can fully engage with your leadership team and hence culture, and help drive it to better and better things. Your people then become the force for positive and thoughtful change, improvements, and outcomes in your business.
Time and time again we see people leave managers not companies, so it is vital for your business to ensure your leaders are the best they can be, and one of the key drivers for this is authenticity, adn that can be further developed and enhanced through exceptional coaching and mentoring skills. So that is what we will focus on achieving for you and your business in this episode.
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What You Need to Know - The What
Authenticity- what is it really
Authentic leadership is an approach to leadership that emphasizes building the leader's legitimacy through honest relationships with followers which value their input and are built on an ethical foundation. Generally, authentic leaders are positive people with truthful self-concepts who promote openness.
According to Forbes, Authentic leaders display 4 key traits;
1. Authentic leaders are self-aware and genuine.
Authentic leaders are self-actualized individuals who are aware of their strengths, their limitations, and their emotions. They also show their real selves to their followers. They do not act one way in private and another in public; they don’t hide their mistakes or weaknesses out of fear of looking weak. They also realize that being self-actualized is an endless journey, never complete.
2. Authentic leaders are mission driven and focused on results.
They are able to put the mission and the goals of the organization ahead of their own self-interest. They do the job in pursuit of results, not for their own power, money or ego.
3. Authentic leaders lead with their heart, not just their minds.
They are not afraid to show their emotions, their vulnerability and to connect with their employees. This does not mean authentic leaders are “soft.” In fact communicating in a direct manner is critical to successful outcomes, but it’s done with empathy; directness without empathy is cruel.
4. Authentic leaders focus on the long-term.
A key tenet in Bill George’s model is the company leaders are focused on long-term shareholder value, not in just beating quarterly estimates. Just as George did as CEO of Medtronic , and as Bezos has done for years at Amazon, leaders realize that to nurture individuals and to nurture a company requires hard work and patience, but the approach pays large dividends over time.
Your leaders need to;
The Paradox of Authenticity
Managing Authenticity: The Paradox of Great Leadership
by Rob Goffee and Gareth Jones
Leadership demands the expression of an authentic self. However many leaders see the success of people like —say, Jack Welch, Richard Branson, or Michael Dell—and they try and act like them! This is the first trap, avoid it at all costs, if you try this you will fail. People want to be led by someone “real.” This has been coming in the workplace for some time, people are showing they need to have their personal values met and work, and are not there for a job for life. In recent times this has been amplified as we are going through a global crisis, and hence your people have become more self-focussed, they are also highly stressed and hence more sensitive to poor leadership and miscommunication. People at work are typically now also more cynical, as they are exposed to multiple points of information that often contradicts the company line, this has lead to the public’s widespread disenchantment with politicians and businesspeople. We all suspect that we’re being duped.
An authentic self is necessary for great leadership, the concept of authenticity is often misunderstood, not least by leaders themselves. They often assume that authenticity is an innate quality—that a person is either authentic or not. In fact, authenticity is a quality that others must attribute to you. No leader can look into a mirror and say, “I am authentic.” A person cannot be authentic on his or her own. Authenticity is largely defined by what other people see in you and, as such, can to a great extent be controlled by you. If authenticity were purely an innate quality, there would be little you could do to manage it and, therefore, little you could do to make yourself more effective as a leader.
It is for leaders to find a balance between expressing their personalities and managing those of the people they aspire to lead or at least influence. Yet the ability to strike that balance—and to preserve one’s authenticity in the process—is precisely what distinguishes great leaders from other executives. The challenge of great leadership is exactly that of managing one’s authenticity, paradoxical though it undoubtedly sounds.
So how do you Establish Your Authenticity?
There’s no one right way to establish and manage your authenticity. But there are conscious steps you can take to help others perceive you as an authentic leader. Some of these are ...
1- Prepare in advance
2- Focus on Knowing Yourself and Others
3- Keep those close to you who give honest feedback
4- Use where you come from- storytelling
5- Conform- but only just enough
A Good Place to Start is recognising the Different Types of Coaching and encouraging and supporting a shift to Situational. This will build your coaching and mentoring muscles as well as ensure you are displaying empathy.
One of the best ways to get better at non directive coaching is to try using the GROW model, developed in the 1980s by Sir John Whitmore and others. It's an old model but incredibly simple and effective and still relevant today This really helps leaders move from the direct telling model they often get trapped in, to achieving the more conversational encouragement and support model that they need to make the behavioural shift to in order to be Leaders who are also authentic.
Top 10 Traits to focus on for becoming Authentic
1. Self-awareness and constant self improvement
2. Lead with heart
3. Focus on long-term results
5. Lead with vision
6. Exceptional Listening skills
8. Consistency- and communication
9. Share success with the team
10. Using experience by storytelling and displaying empathy
Previous: Episode E9 Performance Appraisals don't have to be Scary. The Conversations can and should be Positive and rewarding.
Next: Episode 11 Separating Mismatches form the Business and Dealing with Difficult Conversations 18th of March 2021
Written by Lisa Askwith
Director of ApexBRS | ApexBRS, Regional Director of See Global Media, Chair of EGN Singapore, and Associate Professor Cambridge Corporate University | At the Age of Change, Global Executive MBA and BBA.
Lisa is a globally experienced and highly successful c-suite executive who is available to help you and your business.
You can connect with Lisa on any of her platforms;
LinkedIn Lisa Askwith - Director - Apex BRS
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