Authenticity in the C-Suite

Authenticity, at its core, is really about connection.  Connection to self, which ultimately promotes connection to others, serves as the bedrock for any healthy, thriving organization.

There’s really nothing more magnetic than a leader who’s in touch with who they truly are.  They own their story.  They’re real.  They’re relatable.  They’re human.  They’ve experienced a wide range of triumphs and challenges, all of which have played a role in shaping who they are.

Until now, the concept of authenticity hasn’t yet been embraced with intentionality as a leading initiative.  Going forward, however, it will be an essential element for companies to navigate the ever-changing landscape in business and the world at large.

Realness is magnetic.  People are drawn to and inspired by leaders who exude a zest for life.  This includes leaders who get fired up about their business impact and are passionate about cherishing life’s simple moments.

Think for a moment about the biggest problems that plague companies – they’re people problems.  Employee morale.  Employee engagement.  Employee productivity.  Employee retention.

Oftentimes I see companies putting their efforts and energy into jumping in and trying to fix the symptom rather than tracing back and addressing the deeper root cause.

When we peel back the layers, we may uncover shocking links between the issues companies are struggling with and what’s truly going on in the hearts and minds at the key leadership levels.

To highlight this further and illustrate these ideas from real-life conversations I’ve had, here are a few examples: 

Employee Morale Issues – employees aren’t showing up excited and engaged about what they do.  

Discovery during our coaching session:  During a call with one of my clients (during which he allowed me to ask him some tough questions – talk about open-mindedness and vulnerability on his part!), he came to the realization that he’s not all that excited about what he does.  

I explained that employees pick up on that energy.  They piggyback off of the energy that you’re embodying and modeling, and there’s no way to hide that, and we wouldn’t want to.

Authentic Leadership Solution:  get really vulnerable with your employees.  Explain that the company is going through some challenging times and that while leadership doesn’t have all the answers, they’re exploring and working on various options and agree to communicate more openly and transparently going forward.

Employee Productivity  – employees are exhausted, and burnout is at all-time highs.

Discovery during our coaching session:  Senior leadership is exhausted and living the “burn the wick at both ends” lifestyle. 

Authentic Leadership Solution:  Prioritize self-care at all levels of the company.  Commit to a holistic approach that promotes mind/body/spirit practices.  Share how leadership is committing to this lifestyle and empower employees to invest in their own well-being.

Core Values Disconnect  – employees are expected to be loyal and go the extra mile for their company.

Discovery during our coaching session: There are trust-eroding, toxic behaviors at senior levels.

Authentic Leadership Solution:  Get crystal clear on the company’s value system and standards, identify disconnects, and come up with an action plan to address misalignments.

Employee Engagement – employees are lacking focus and direction and are unclear of what their role is in achieving the broader mission.

Discovery during our coaching session:  The company has no mission statement.

Authentic Leadership Solution:  Write an impactful mission statement that speaks to the greater good of humanity, and teach employees how to think about their role in the context of their contribution to the overall mission of the company.

Negative Environment – employees are complaining and “water-cooler talk” is overwhelmingly negative and critical.  

Discovery during our coaching session: My client is positive on the outside but internally expects people to have negative reactions.

Authentic Leadership Solution:  Develop a personal belief system that is congruent with the results you want to experience.

Note that I’m not concluding that all widespread company problems stem from weak leadership.  But I am saying that taking a serious peek behind the curtain at the leadership level may reveal eye-opening truths.  And the mindset with which you do so matters in a big way.  Remember, it’s never to judge, blame, shame, or criticize.  It’s all about creating awareness so that investments can be made in the right places to move everyone forward.

Leadership in today’s day and age isn’t for the faint of heart.  It calls for us to rise to a whole new occasion and commit to personal betterment and well-being in unprecedented ways.

And what a tremendous duty, honor, and privilege we all have as leaders to play such an instrumental role in re-templating the way business is done, and most importantly, the quality of the human experience.

You’re in a position to help infuse soul into your organization, the lifeblood that will bolster results and allow you to rise above the competition.  And what’s more, you can accomplish all of that all while feeling good about how you’re doing it.

I believe that all leaders have a duty to be firing on all cylinders and show up as the best version of themselves every day.  This isn’t to say that they need to be perfect or be in hustle mode and accessible 24/7.  In fact, I don’t recommend any of these.  All that’s necessary is an open mind, open heart, and unwavering dedication to growth.

Leaders. The world is counting on you.  Now more than ever, the world needs leaders to light the path for others and show them the way.

And how exactly do you do that?  One small step at a time.  And the first step is making a life-changing decision.  Say “YES” to authentic leadership today, and I’ll hold your hand every step of the way.

And when you do…the biggest company problems I mentioned above – SOLVED.  People are happier, healthier, freer, and lighter.  But not overnight.  And not without growing pains.  But if you intentionally choose authenticity and commit to it and show up and do the work, over time, you will taste the sweet fruits of your labor.  It can’t happen any other way.

And lastly, thank you.  From the bottom of my heart.  For showing up.  For being here.  For being you.

Let’s do this, shall we?  Click here.