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Authentic Leadership: Embrace Your Unique Strengths

Oscar Wilde famously said “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” However, particularly in the corporate world, we too often feel like we need to conform or mask our true selves to succeed. Standing proud in our authenticity can feel like a bold move, however, it’s precisely this authenticity that sets effective leaders apart. We believe that we are all leaders already, whatever our job title, and to find the full power of our leadership embracing our unique strengths is not just beneficial, it’s essential. This article explores what it means to lead authentically and how embracing your individuality can drive success and fulfilment.

The Power of Authentic Leadership

Authentic leadership is about being true to yourself, your values, and your vision. It’s about leading with integrity, honesty, and a genuine sense of self. Authentic leaders inspire trust and loyalty because their actions are consistent with their words. Here’s why authenticity is a cornerstone of effective leadership:

Authenticity Builds Trust: We can feel it when someone is being inauthentic; at a gut level we recognise the mask and it creates mistrust. When you lead authentically, your team will feel it and will know what to expect from you. Alignment between who you are and your actions and decisions builds trust, which is the foundation of any strong team.

Authenticity Fosters Engagement: Authentic leaders create an environment where team members feel valued for who they are. This is driven by being around a leader who values themselves enough to stand in their own authenticity. This sense of belonging fosters higher engagement, creativity, and productivity.

Authenticity Enhances Well-being: Trying to be someone you’re not is exhausting and unsustainable, trust us, we’ve been there, done that and got the burnout t-shirts to show for it! Authenticity may feel challenging initially but as we step into simply being ourselves, we find it reduces stress and enhances your overall wellbeing, allowing you to lead with energy and passion.

Embracing Your Unique Strengths

Know Yourself: Self-awareness is the first step to authentic leadership. Take time to understand your strengths, weaknesses, values, and passions. This can begin simply as a reflection on what is important through journaling or through discussions with trusted colleagues or a coach. Personality assessments, such as the Women’s PowerTypes Profile that we use within SOAR: Take Flight and Lead, can also give you a deeper understanding of how you are currently showing up and what your leadership superpowers are.

Align Actions with Values: Once you know your core values, ensure your actions align with them. This alignment creates a sense of integrity and trustworthiness that others will notice and respect. In SOAR: Take Flight and Lead, we explore your values alongside your vision to create a strong sense of alignment.

Leverage Your Strengths: Whether it’s your creativity, empathy, strategic thinking, or ability to inspire others, use these qualities to your advantage. Understanding your key strengths and those of the people around you can allow you to create an environment where you and your team can all thrive and spend as much time as possible in your zone of genius. When we can do this, we can also discover a whole new level of fulfilment in what we are doing because we are focused on the parts that feel good and align with who we are and where we are going.

Be Vulnerable: Authentic leaders are not afraid to show vulnerability. It’s a challenging idea for many of us to be seen as less than perfect, especially to our colleagues, but again it can be a strong builder of trust. Admitting mistakes, asking for help and showing empathy can humanise you and strengthen your connections with your team.

Stay True in Adversity: Maintaining authenticity can be challenging, especially in difficult times. However, staying true to your values and principles during adversity demonstrates resilience and strength, inspiring those around you.

Embracing your unique strengths and leading authentically is a powerful way to find peace, fulfilment and success for yourself and inspire those around you to do the same. When you know yourself deeply, show up as that vulnerable, authentic and powerful self, leverage your unique strengths and stay resilient, you will also be able to build a loyal and engaged team and find great personal fulfilment in your leadership journey. So, step into your authentic self, embrace your unique strengths, and lead with the confidence that being yourself is your greatest asset.

What one thing could you do to be more authentic in your leadership this week?

Want to support yourself and the women in your team to become authentic, impactful leaders? Drop Sarae and Jen an email at Hello@SOARLeadership.co.uk – we provide coaching and training for women managers and leaders to embrace their unique strengths and lead wholeheartedly.