Be yourself. Authenticity trumps cool every time. – Craig Groeschel
When we think of leaders we admire, rarely is it someone who is perfect. Rarely do our role models win both the Olympic gold medal and the presidential race. “Perfection” of that magnitude would be extraordinary, but seriously hard to relate to. That is why great leaders openly acknowledge both their strengths and their weaknesses. Simply put: great leaders are authentic.
Authenticity is about giving yourself permission to be vulnerable. You can try to fake perfection for a little while, but in times of stress, who you really are is what people will see. Those around us already know what we are good at and where we struggle; acknowledging weakness gives our team members permission to step up and fill in those areas where we lack strength or expertise.
At Southwest Michigan First, we focus on talent and service with our team members. We try to find what people are great at and accelerate their natural strengths. Having team members fake who they are is a remedial strategy. We don’t waste time hiding what we might not be great at and diminishing what we are great at. We must be authentic to gain and keep the trust of our clients and customers. Our audiences want to know who we really are, and my guess is, so do yours.
Question: If you asked your team to grade your authenticity on a scale of 1 to 10, how would you fare? What can you do to improve your score in the next 30 days?