5 Ways to Develop as an Authentic Leader
When leaders are genuine, self-aware, and show who they are as people, they inspire loyalty and trust in their employees.
The following content, including insights from AAFCPAs’ Managing Partner Carla McCall, appeared in FM Magazine.
The concept of authentic leadership has been around for many years. Bill George, Harvard professor and former Medtronic CEO, has been credited with creating the theory, which he presented in his 2003 book, Authentic Leadership. He attributed corporate success to leaders who had what he considered essential characteristics of an authentic leader.
This kind of leadership starts with aligning internal values and beliefs with behaviour. It comes from finding your style and your signature way of leading and making decisions that reflect your ethics, values, and personality.
In other words, authentic leaders are those who bring their whole selves to their jobs, participate fully and honestly in the workplace, and build trust amongst their employees. As a bonus, organizations that foster authentic behaviour are more likely to have engaged, enthusiastic, and motivated employees who feel safe bringing their authentic selves to work, too, says Carla McCall, CPA, CGMA, managing partner at Massachusetts-based AAFCPAs in the US.
“Authentic leaders are genuine and believable, and if you come across that way, you’ll have the trust of your team,” McCall said. “And when you have the trust of your team, great things happen.”
Building trusting relationships based on a core set of values is key to authentic leadership, added Philipp Belle, ACMA, CGMA, CFO Europe at DPR Construction in Amsterdam. “Your rewards come when you have a great team that delivers results and realises success,” he said. “And when individuals find themselves growing, developing, and contributing to success, it’s energising.”
In addition to McCall and Belle, other experts from around the world told FM what authentic leadership means to them and how leaders can learn strategies for bringing their authentic selves into their workplace.