Yesterday, I shared a post from SUCCESS Magazine about authenticity. Another way to define authenticity is simply “keeping it real”.
Sounds great, but most of us have a mask we wear as a leader. Ask yourself: Do you feel you need to convey control, have it all together, and look & behave a certain way to garner credibility? Are you a different person after business hours?
The irony is that our mask creates a deep divide between us and the people we lead, rendering us less effective at engaging them in creating amazing results & giving all of themselves.
Without intention, we become untouchable & inaccessible. This is why many leaders report feeling alone at the top. From a pedestal, the fall is far & highly visible. So we work harder to maintain this “exterior” of perfection, and over time, our own understanding of our true self becomes blurred, and we are nagged by a sense of loss, feeling alone, and a misalignment with our truth. And In Walks Burn Out.
By making a conscious decision to rediscover & show our true self often results in a wave of relief. Most people find that people immediately speak more candidly, become more engaged, and deliver better results. People work for people. And we all do better work for people who we genuinely know and feel a connection to.
“Flipping the switch” to remove the mask is hard. We’ve developed habits over time, and keeping it real requires vulnerability, a desire to connect, and the confidence to show the good and bad. It’s an easier path to hide the “bad parts” than it is to expose them.
But the reality is we suffer in the long term. When we feel we must “act,” we subconsciously tell ourselves that who we are is not enough, and that we need to be bigger, more competent, or more exciting.
It takes a conscious choice to examine your own masks. What small step can you take towards greater authenticity? How can you relax in the truth of you and trust that you will be a better leader for it? You won’t know if you don’t try. And the gift of it all is that we inspire others to live their own truth when they observe us doing it. As leaders, giving ourselves permission to embrace authenticity creates a culture that embraces authenticity. But it starts with us.