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Authentic Leader: Is it time for you to release her?

Authentic Leader: Is it time for you to release her?

In an ever-changing world, it is perhaps more important than ever for business leaders to be distinguished by some important quality traits, such as self-authenticity through their role, showing empathy, compassion, active listening and transparency of members of their team, as this creates conditions of trust and respect on their part and helps everyone to cope more effectively and resiliently with the challenges they face in their daily work, due to the special and unprecedented conditions.

Leading a team is not an easy task. Especially when it is a woman that has to prove herself twice as hard as a man, especially in these peculiar circumstances. Although there has been progress in the participation of women in senior leadership positions, even today, women leaders in business are an exception. One of the reasons this is still a reality is that we still have a misconception about the characteristics that make a person a successful and effective leader in a business. We still envision an image of a tough man, who hides his feelings, is distant and does not share much information with his team, so as not to appear vulnerable and inadequate to manage situations on his own. Even a smile, most of the time, is a prohibitive reaction for a self-respecting leader.

Thus, we trap men in the role of leader and behavior like the above, making them feel ashamed and uncomfortable to behave in a more human-centered way, full of empathy, vulnerability, and honesty towards their team members, keeping leadership in an obsolete framework that causes discomfort inwardly but does not bring substantial results, in terms of motivation and job satisfaction of people in a business.

On the other hand, many women believe that they need to imitate this behavior, in order to receive the respect and trust of those who work on their teams and be as effective as their male counterparts.

Thus, they become leaders with a hard face, hiding every element of vulnerability and sensitivity and depriving themselves of becoming the amazing leaders they can be. This treasure trove of characteristics and skills that hide within themselves is exactly what today’s work environments need to achieve high motivation, job satisfaction, productivity, and conditions of mutual support and teamwork among employees.

If what you read above seems familiar to you and you recognize it in yourself, as one of those women who is oppressed not to show her true authentic self in her role as a leader, maybe it is time to stop doing it, as the times now favor authentic leaders, those who possess those mild skills, which until recently were considered “feminine” and inappropriate, but in today’s world, are recognized as high human-centered skills, which do not have a gender and are what your people need to be “happy” productive in their work, as a result of your own leadership style?

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So stop leading with a mask and constant stress and trying to imitate a leadership model that has died. Lead with your heart!

Be human. Vulnerability and sensitivity, as the disadvantages of yesterday, are the strengths of a successful leader today. Nothing is more valued by your people than the authenticity between what is inside you and what comes out in your outward behavior. Your personality, your characteristics, your experiences, your thoughts, and your feelings. Accept them, not only as part of the person but also as part of the high-ranking executive you are. Only if you start this acceptance within you can it be transformed into authentic outward leadership.

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