How Do Authentic Leaders
Convey Credibility?

Authentic-leaersI’ve been exploring how authentic leaders build authenticity by addressing five areas: self-awareness, respect, connecting, credibility and trust.

How do authentic leaders come across as truly credible? For one thing, people don’t believe leaders who exhibit questionable behavior. If a leader shows flexible morality in one arena, they are not going to be perceived as 100% ethical in others. Being true, inwardly and outwardly, avoids this potential pitfall.

Trueness to oneself is the most basic form of genuineness, which aligns with authenticity. Be the real you. Faking things is deceptive and eventually evident to all. People aren’t fooled for long. They’ll question and distrust inconsistencies. Being true to yourself requires healthy self-awareness and self-worth. Who you are is the person people will see, and it’s the noble character in you they want to see.

Consistency in trueness builds credibility. People know who they’ll face day in and day out, through good and tough times. Great leaders are mindful of this. They’ve trained themselves to proactively discern the high road and take it, with honorable motives. Noble character, lived out on a regular basis, is the anchor of authenticity that people need to weather any storm.

Outward truthfulness is also critical. Honesty shouldn’t be the best policy; it should be the only policy. Leaders caught in a lie inflict damage to themselves and those around them. A quick glance at today’s headlines should serve as a brisk confirmation. Nothing builds barricades faster than a leader who tries to deceive. Truthfulness is a pillar your culture cannot be without, so lead with it.

As a coach, I hear from leaders who struggle with these issues all the time. There are shades of grey and fine lines everywhere. It’s hard. Here’s some common sense advice.

  • Exercise judgment when truth must be guarded.
  • Confidentiality is required for credibility.
  • Sensitive, personal or private information must be handled carefully and discreetly.
  • Don’t jump to conclusions or make decisions based on assumptions or rumors.

Once inappropriate things are said or misinformation falls into the wrong hands, it cannot be retracted. Tension soars, and credibility plummets.

Credible leaders avoid these kinds of risks. They use professional language, with the proper sensitivities, cautions and accuracies. This doesn’t mean there can’t be light or even humorous moments, but they shouldn’t be careless or reckless.

What about where you work? Are your leaders paying attention to ways to build authenticity? I’d love to hear from you. Give me a call, 704-827-4474. Or, you can reach me here and on LinkedIn.

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