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The Trusted Authentic Leader – Exercise | Deliberate Practice 

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From the Post, The Authentic Leader –  Practice Trust in Leadership and Everything Else

Trust is an essential component of authenticity because it forms the foundation upon which genuine connections and self-expression can flourish. When we trust others, we feel safe to reveal our true selves without fear of judgment or betrayal.

This openness allows us to be authentic, as we no longer need to hide behind masks or pretenses. Authenticity is about being true to oneself, and trust is the bridge that enables us to share our thoughts, feelings, and vulnerabilities with others. It creates an environment where meaningful relationships can develop, and where our words and actions align with our beliefs and values. In essence, trust fosters an atmosphere of acceptance and understanding, allowing us to be our most authentic selves without reservations.

Logic, empathy, and authenticity, according to Frances Frei, are the three components that help us to build and rebuild trust. There are also three crucial behaviors that develop a leader who people want to follow. 

Logic component

Logic is a set of rules and techniques for distinguishing good reasoning from bad. A popular statement we often hear is, “We do it this way because we have always done it this way.” Where is the logic and is the reasoning sound? When reviewing research we always look for validation, the data to support or refute an idea or concept. People will often look for validation in what you say. 

Empathy component

Empathy is the ability to emotionally understand what other people feel, see things from their point of view, and imagine yourself in their place. Basically, it’s putting yourself in someone else’s position and honestly understanding what they are feeling. If you tell someone you know how they feel and there is no reasoning behind your comment, people won’t believe you. It doesn’t mean you have to take on the emotion for yourself, it’s more like trying to honestly find a way to relate to the situation or condition. If it’s difficult for you to relate because you have never been in that position, say so, ask what that’s like, and listen with the intent to understand. That’s empathy.

Authentic component

Authenticity can be the hardest component of the three. We need to ask ourselves, what does it mean to be authentic? For authenticity to happen we have to allow ourselves to be seen. Brené Brown defines being authentic this way, “Authenticity means having a keen awareness of who you are and what you stand for, and expressing yourself honestly and consistently to the world.” Authenticity is a collection of personal choices. 

Logic and empathy take daily self-awareness and practice. Authenticity on the other hand can be perplexing. Trying to figure out who you are can take some extra work. In your journal, write down these questions and answer them for yourself. Don’t answer them how you think other people want you to answer them, be honest and clear with yourself.

  1. Take personal inventory – What are your core values? Ask yourself when you feel your most authentic self. In what situations can you feel yourself being authentic? Who are you around when you feel you’re most authentic? What work are you doing when you feel you’re most authentic? Asking yourself some direct questions can help you discover who you are when you are not compromising your core values. When you get clear on your values, you will find it easier to make decisions in line with your authentic self.
  2. Be present – Being present with yourself, no matter what is going on around you, is essential to authenticity. If you are always distracted or reacting to external situations, you’re not aware of your own state of being. When you find yourself wondering how you are being seen or what you should do next, focus inward. Reflect on your values. Berné suggests practicing taking a pause to breathe and checking in with yourself regularly throughout the day. This will strengthen your mindfulness and help you notice when you are being inauthentic. With awareness, you will find opportunities to express yourself more fully and take actions that feel more in line with the real you.
  3. Build your social support system – If you want to live an authentic life, you’ll need to surround yourself with authentic people. That means intentionally giving your time and attention to people who not only are true to themselves but also support you in your journey. Take inventory of your personal and social circle from time to time and surround yourself with supportive people who lift you up. If you feel alone at work, find one other person to create your group, and others will follow. 
  4. Look for daily actions that lead to authenticity – When you really look at it, authenticity comes down to your day-to-day actions. Because it’s those seemingly small moments, the things you say, your decisions, your actions, that add up to who you are and how you are seen.
  5. Take time to reflect – Use your journal to record the small actions or conversations where you feel you were your authentic self. Deliberately practicing the small actions will lead to the larger actions People will begin to see you as a trusted leader and respect what you have to say. 

Learning to be a trusted authentic leader is a lifelong exercise. You always need to be on guard against people and situations that will challenge who you are. Write out your values in your journal and keep them in mind every time you make a decision or are about to say something. Those few seconds of self-awareness can determine which side of the trust sword you are wielding.  

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The Rational Leader – Exercise | Deliberate practice

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