What is Authentic Leadership

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What is Authentic Leadership? By: Henna Inam @hennainam

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Authenticity Dilemmas in the Workplace • “I want to succeed, but I feel I have to give up too much of myself to advance.” • “I feel like I can’t really express my point of view because it won’t be accepted.” • “My work is just a paycheck. I feel disconnected and burned out.” • “What I value isn’t really valued in my workplace.” • “What is the right balance between being myself and adapting to the workplace culture?” What is an authenticity dilemma you face?

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What is Authentic Leadership? • Authentic leadership is the fullest expression of ME for the benefit of WE. • It is a moment-by-moment choice to lead adaptively from our core. • The authentic self is the intelligence at the core of who we are. It is the wise part of us that can step back and choose the most appropriate course of action that serves the greatest good in the moment.

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Why Authenticity? • Authentic leaders create engagement. We have a crisis of engagement. Only 13% of employees worldwide are engaged. • When leaders are rooted in authenticity, it creates enormous benefits for leaders, those they lead, and the organization.

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Why Authenticity? • • • • • • Human beings are wired to be authentic. Inauthenticity causes stress in our bodies. Authentic connections are good for our well-being & immune system. Authenticity helps us build deeper connections with others. Authenticity creates trust in teams. Authentic leaders drive innovation. Why is workplace authenticity important to you?

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Why workplace authenticity can be tough So, we know that authenticity is needed… but it is also tough. It requires us to: • Slow down and connect more deeply with ourselves and with others. • Get clear about our values & sense of purpose. • Overcome fears like loss of credibility or not fitting in/being respected. • Understand what authenticity is – and debunk the myths. What makes workplace authenticity hard for you?

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Three Myths about Authentic Leadership Authenticity Myths: • “I am who I am.” - Actually who we are is constantly changing. Most times we are not even aware of who we are being as we act. To be a more authentic leader we must stay curious about who we are being NOW, and choose who we’re inspired to be. • “Authenticity means I must always be consistent in my actions.” Actually our centered, authentic self is very adaptive to a situation. We can adapt our style, communication, actions, or behavior while remaining true to our purpose. • “Authenticity means I must always act from my personal beliefs.” Sometimes our beliefs can be in conflict with what must be done for the greater good. Authentic leaders always weigh what they believe versus what is needed for the greater good.

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Seven Practices of Authentic Leadership • Authentic leadership is a moment by moment practice. • These are the seven practices of authentic leaders.

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Befriend Your Body Why are our bodies critical to authenticity? • • • Neuroscience shows us that changes in posture change brain chemistry and leadership impact. Our state of being is connected to our body. It drives our attitude, our body language. 94% of communication is non-verbal. Body awareness helps us know ourselves: what brings us joy, what triggers us, what we can do to overcome fears to be more impactful and authentic leaders. What regular practice will you commit to in order to connect with and reduce stress in your body?

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Stay Curious Why be curious? • Curiosity opens the door to creativity, connection, compassion and to better decision making. • Curiosity helps us be more effective and adaptive as changes happen. • Get curious about your strengths, values, energizers, sense of purpose, weaknesses, saboteur thought patterns, etc. • Get curious about your external environment to adapt quickly. What areas would you like be more curious about?

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Let Go • We own the vision we create of our best selves. What is required to be our authentic self is to chip away at all the parts we think we “should” be - so that we can be more of ourselves. • Some areas of letting go are: tension in the body, “shoulds,” limiting beliefs, trapped emotions, taking things personally, resisting what is, commitment to be right, and things we can’t control. Which area of letting go most inspires you?

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Give Yourself an A • Giving ourselves an A is about appreciating our humanity and making peace with our “flaws.” • Accepting all parts of ourselves as we are gives us greater selfconfidence. • When we accept ourselves we have access to a greater range of behaviors. We are able to be more effective and adaptive across a range of leadership situations. What are the situations in your life and leadership where giving yourself an A would really serve you?

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Choose BE before DO • Leadership today requires us to adapt quickly while maintaining the integrity of who we are. • Authentic leadership is leading adaptively from our core. • Choosing Be before Do allows us to adapt quickly by accessing the different parts of who we already are in order to be fully effective, adaptable and authentic. • Ask yourself “Who am I being right now? Am I operating from fear or from values and inspiration?”

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Face the Dragon The practice of courage is critical to Authentic Leadership • • • • In the practice we decide to stare all the imaginary fire-breathing dragons in the face, and be with our fear, rather than avoid it. We decide to act despite that feeling in the pit of our stomachs. We choose to tolerate and breathe through our discomfort rather than avoid it. Then we realize that many of our fears are illusions we made up anyway. In what areas of your life & leadership will this practice most serve you?

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Dance with the Dream • Our dream is the spark that makes us feel most alive, engaged, and energized. It’s linked to personal purpose. • The pursuit of the dream is a gateway to our self-actualization because we are more willing to push ourselves outside our comfort zone. • Dancing with our dream is engaging with it in our workplace so we feel more energized, engaged and bring more of our gifts to our work. Who is one small step you will take toward bringing your dream to work today?

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Are YOU an Authentic Leader? Take the Five-Minute Assessment

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Want to bring Authentic Leadership to your workplace? • Join Our Authenticity @ Work Movement! Here are some tools and resources to get started. • Follow me on: LinkedIn Twitter Forbes Blog

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