If you’ve ever been in a leadership position, you know that it can bring on a mini-identity crisis. You have an obligation to uphold policies and improve productivity, which leads so many business owners to take on an arbitrary role of what they think the boss should be like. But as the world gets smaller through social media, we see a turning point where management and customer service tie back into branding. Everyday, we see new examples of businesses that cut through the noise by being personable, relatable and true to themselves.
For leaders that continue to rely on a bossy persona or fake empathy, employees will see through it and customers won’t accept it. In these situations, leaders often lose credibility once their true personality surfaces. Stern managers who reveal their laid-back nature may sacrifice compliance, while more serious managers could be considered untrustworthy or fake when they try too hard to be friendly. A better choice is to utilize the advantages of your unique values in the workplace. Principle can be it’s own competitive advantage.
But being authentic at work doesn’t come naturally to all of us. If it doesn’t, business owners and leaders should do a little introspection for the benefit of their livelihood.
The most important step of providing authentic service and leadership is to know who you are. Pretend for a moment that your values are a company – what would be your brand? Are you creative, efficient, nurturing, rational, flexible, enthusiastic, harmonious, or competitive? Find words that strike the core of what you deem important. Take some time to reflect on the meaning of those words and what it means to embody them. Discover how your values inform your choices and priorities at work.
Values are not an excuse to abdicate decisions or duties – you won’t get out of firing an employee because you’re so nurturing and sympathetic – but it can help you handle hard decisions with a more human approach. And on the other hand, being efficient doesn’t exempt you from showing consideration or respect for others. The act of being genuine as a leader is less about you and more about your potential to positively influence others.
By taking authenticity as a serious challenge, leaders have the opportunity to create their own path in business. Inspire your peers and team to leverage their strengths and values by demonstrating your passion through your direction. A team founded on deeply rooted values has unlimited potential to engage, support and sell.