The Importance Of Demonstrating Authenticity In Leadership

Being oneself in corporate is difficult. Indeed, corporate is infamous for suppressing emotions, for promoting toxic behavior, for relying on military style hierarchy and for employing an oppressing and commanding leadership style

To humanize the corporate environment, organizations schedule team building events, ostentatious celebratory ceremonies, job satisfaction programs and other vain initiatives.

However, these events only disguise reality, don’t solve employee engagement, alignment and fulfillment, and almost often leave employees feeling alienated and manipulated. Lack of authenticity can easily become boring and even traumatic.

Whereas, enabling authenticity allows corporations to peak innovation, enthusiasm and creativity and to subsequently attract authentic customers.

Wondering how to avoid bending yourself to fit into the corporate mold, to be your authentic self at work, to make employees feel involved and celebrate their uniqueness?

The Importance Of Demonstrating Authenticity In Leadership

In the workplace, we take orders, hide our social lives, form superficial and hypocritical relationships, sacrifice our feelings and core values in order to make a living and to endanger the things that breathes life into us.

For example, leaders feel like they have to act their way through their role, they are unable to use their strengths, to be straightforward, to be genuine or to perform in accordance with their values and ideals. Subsequently, being consistent with their behavior becomes draining and unproductive.

But today, for millennial leaders, job satisfaction, self-fulfillment, authenticity have become a requirement. They are tired of the emotionless, depressing and cold corporate world, are skeptical about capitalism and resistant to the commanding leadership style, seek social progress and equity, voice dissent and unfairness.

That is why places like Google and Apple have come up with new ways to encourage employees quirks and weirdness.

So how to demonstrate authenticity in your leadership, to appreciate authenticity in employees and translate it into the corporation?

Old corporations used to suppress emotions which seemed to lead to rational decisions, to value conformity and an ability to execute orders without questions. Back in the day, being authentic would be a luxury but nowadays it has become essential to success. To be more authentic in your leadership:

  1. Know yourself, your strengths and weaknesses. Take time off for introspection, meditation and prayer to get to know yourself better, to confront your blind spots and to quiet the noise.
  2. Learn to speak the truth, to be honest with yourself and edit the lies you have been telling yourself for years. Doing so is difficult because most role models on television, in politics, in advertisements, in our lives lie without expecting any repercussion. Hiding behind the persona that you are expected to be at work, at home, with your friends, with your family, with strangers and with people from different backgrounds end up draining you.
  3. Practice being yourself in all situations to build up your confidence. No need to take on a persona all the time. Identify what aspect of your life you are willing to bring at work.
  4. Trust yourself and listen to your instincts. Circumstances should not dictate your choices and decisions.
  5. Accept and love yourself unconditionally. Furthermore, adjust your self-deprecating lens and perceptions of reality to understand your true value.
  6. Find the strength within to do the right thing and build up your integrity.
  7. Increase your emotional intelligence to appropriately deal with your emotions and with difficult situations, to understand the impact of their behavior on others.
  8. Discipline your thoughts in order to focus on your goals and remain consistent through difficult situations.
  9. Be an Essentialist, avoid temptations, stay away from the media and remove distractions. Distractions impedes us from challenging the world and the status quo, from questioning leaders, finding your true inspiration, changing lifestyle. Instead, direct your attention to wise, inspiring and motivating sources.Allow differences in opinions and nurture dissenting voices to spark constructive discussions and innovation.
  10. Respect cultural diversity and difference of lifestyles. For instance, allow creativity, informal clothing and employees with tattoos and piercings. Also, create excitement within your organization and help employees show their playful and fun side to overcome boredom and to increase employee engagement.
  11. Identify your purpose. Purpose is mostly found in times of pressure, when you are forced to examine your life, your values and your walk in life. However, pressure points are not always stimulants. Purpose can also come naturally to you. With purpose, you are automatically motivated and interested in what you are doing and careful about the implications of your work.
  12. Take care of yourself, eat healthy and exercise regularly to properly manage stressful situations.
  13. Give yourself permission to explore different work environments, secure those that bring out the best in you and prosper in the right role.
  14. Stay humble no matter what and stay close to your family and roots. Know that the success of the project and the well-being of your team come first.
  15. Be transparent. Speak your mind, avoid playing games and manipulating your employees. Lead at work the same way that you will lead at home.
  16. Ask for advice and opinions from your colleagues before making major decisions.
  17. Know who your friends are and build deeper relationships in the workplace. Your true friends will appreciate your success, your authenticity, will help you move toward your goal, give good advice and provide different perspectives on one situation.
  18. Find ways to measure and to genuinely celebrate successThis will help to increase job satisfaction and employee engagement.

Hope that I’ve helped you get it together on your way to leadership!

Don’t forget to like, share and leave a comment below.

Can You Perform Under Pressure In The Workplace?

We all have had major presentations in front of our peers that determine whether or not we will be fit for the next promotion, whether we contribute effectively to the team, where we feel the pressure to succeed.

Overloaded, overwhelmed, anxious, stressed, some of us make it through these pressure moments and others fail.

As a matter of fact, leaders and employees are constantly under pressure in corporate:

  • their time is under custody,
  • the customers require quality product in record time,
  • the teams need expertise,
  • teams compete against each other at all levels,
  • teams bully one member of their team,
  • teams, stakeholders and organizations have high expectations,
  • the market is unstable or the company is downsizing,
  • hierarchy formulates unreachable financial demands,
  • there is a constant need for results and numbers,
  • technology has us connected to our work 24/7,
  • each individual applies pressure on themselves to succeed…

Wondering how to handle, minimize the effects of these pressure moments at work and moreover how to control your reactions to them?

Can You Perform Under Pressure In The Workplace?

Pressure is indeed independent from the work class and social status. Pressure affects creativity and productivity.

Pressure is much more visible when starting a new job. We feel obliged to fit in and show our contribution to the team and we tend to overdo ourselves.

We arrive early, we live late, we work harder than the rest, meet expectations, make mistakes which leads to anxiety and stress.

Therefore, the desire to perform better, the need for results are pressing which deepens the stress: we stop trusting our main competencies and like Boxer the horse in George Orwell’s, we just start to work harder.

However, in reality, by working harder, you have great work ethic but you are no longer considered as a team player, a thinker or strategist and therefore become expendable.

The impacts of pressure?

Everyone has a threshold for pressure. There are definitely two types of pressure: the one we impose on ourselves and the one people put on us.
Pressure can have a negative effect on people: aggressiveness, loss of appetite, insomnia, headache, back pain, and stress.
The term stress was first adopted by Hans Selye in 1936 and is defined as a feeling of inability to respond to high stake demands in critical situations.
Stress is a fundamental human reaction, rooted in our self-preservation instincts, that impacts our cognitive health, clouds our decision-making process and our judgement, compromises our perceptions and behavioral skills, and lowers our abilities.
It leaves people cold, uptight, defensive, with the feeling of quitting everything. However, stress is not all bad. 
Stress provides adrenaline for those who are lacking motivation. In addition, poorly managed stress will eventually damage someone’s career, collaboration, trust and can results in absenteeism, and chronic health problems.

How to perform under pressure?

As a leader, your behavior in pressure moments, impacts those around you and can predict their performance.
Leaders and employees tend to under-perform under pressure because:
  • the situation is critical for them and their survival,
  • the situation is critical for others and for the organization,
  • they fear that people will judge, criticize or reject them due to the outcome of their performance,
  • the outcome of their performance is unknown,
  • their environment is hostile and threatening.

Performing under pressure is a skill and can therefore be learnt. Below are 16 tips to improve your performance under pressure:

  1. Analyze the situation and your behavior. Take a step back, seek deeper insights in your thoughts and behaviors to identify stress triggers, weigh out the outcomes of the situation. How important is this situation for you?
  2. Focus on the task and not the results. It is necessary to clearly define your objectives by writing them down on paper beforehand. Objectives must be concrete, measurable and have an expected outcome. As a result, you are apt to stay in the present, not be distracted and most importantly take your time on the task.
  3. Remember your past success and current qualities, before and during critical situations, to understand that your worth is not intrinsic to the situation and to pass through the situation as a whole.
  4. Control the controllable factors (like your reactions to the situation) and release what you cannot control. Worrying about people or events beyond your control is a waste of energy.
  5. Find coping mechanism and back up plans to avoid reproducing the same mistakes.
  6. Anticipate all the potential obstacles before beginning the task to prepare for the worst, make a list of solutions and implement them before debuting the task. For example, when the waters are calm, write down the essential procedures.
  7. Become insensitive to pressure by subjugating yourself to it as often as necessary, until the performance becomes automatic.
  8. Remain positive and visualize the pressure moment as a challenge or fun experience, an opportunity to showcase your talents. Embracing stressful situations builds self-confidence, energize, boosts motivation, allow you to perform at your authentic level.
  9. Believe that there will be many more opportunities coming our way, by seeing the moment as training session for the right opportunity.
  10. Influence your brain to accurately interpret a high pressured situation. We have a tendency to distort situations through our lenses and either make them grander than they are.
  11. Assume strictly positive outcomes of the stressful situation and speak positivity into reality.
  12. Practice a relaxation technique: breathe, look and listen to the noises around you, take full advantage of your breaks. or just listen to music.
  13. Avoid useless and unproductive interactions if you can. If you are unable to avoid negative interactions, isolate the information that you need from the interaction. Write down that information and do not rely on memory or distorted thoughts.
  14. Recognize that the pressure that you are receiving from someone else has nothing to do with you.
  15. Take responsibility for your actions, admit and accept your errors when things don’t go your way.
  16. Make sleep a priority. When feeling tired or fatigued, switch tasks, start with the most complex one in the beginning of the day and make to do lists before the end of each day.

Hope that I’ve helped you get it together on your way to leadership!

Don’t forget to like, share and leave a comment below.