We have to reflect: Are we being true to ourselves?
In trying to fit in with organizational, social norms and expectations, our behaviors sometimes go against our own values. This is not easy, as it takes a lot of energy to behave in ways that are not in tune with our true values, priorities, hopes, and style. The energy we then spend trying to come across as something we're not is energy that is not available for your business and other activities.
The solution: authentic leadership.
Authenticity - which can be described as a healthy alignment between your values and behaviors - is a powerful factor in the lives of leaders, especially women leaders.
Leading Effectively, 2022
Authentic leadership is a healthy alignment between your values and behaviors that can enhance your personal and professional life. It emphasizes self-awareness, transparency, and integrity
Some key characteristics of authentic women leaders may include:
Self-awareness: Authentic leaders are deeply self-aware, understanding their strengths, weaknesses, and values.
Emotional intelligence: Women leaders often possess high emotional intelligence, which allows them to understand and connect with others on a deeper level.
Transparency: Authentic women leaders are open and honest with their followers, sharing information and feedback in a clear and respectful manner.
Empathy: Authentic women leaders are able to put themselves in others' shoes, and they seek to understand and support their followers' needs and goals.
Integrity: Authentic women leaders are consistent in their actions and decisions, and they hold themselves to high ethical standards.
Three Tips for Women to Find Their Authentic Style
Look to Leaders You Admire. Observe their traits, how they interact with their team and work under pressure. Perhaps it might be worthwhile to find a mentor to support your leadership development.
Stop Putting Yourself First. Leadership is an exercise in service. “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader” (John Quincy Adams). It’s a tricky balance because as a figure of authority, you must often be the deciding voice on things. Instead of focusing on your authority, it's recommended to start from a place of service. Service involves putting your own advancement and ego aside to focus on the needs of the team and business (Azevedo, 2012).
Take Action. You may or may not make sweeping changes. You can start with small steps, and gradually align your behaviors with your most important values. For example, you might cut back on the number of weekend hours you spend working to improve your personal relationships. Although it might seem as if this change would hurt your job performance, your increased sense of wellbeing might make you more resilient, and therefore a better and more productive leader.
Overall, authentic leadership for women is about being true to oneself and creating a positive impact on others through honesty, empathy, and integrity. Finding your authentic leadership style is a process and can be challenging, but it makes a powerful statement and commands respect. Committing to living and leading with authenticity can bring many positive benefits.
Nomad Haven is a nourishing community for women to showcase and be their authentic selves to the fullest. Come and join us.