Your Team Can’t Trust You If They Don’t Know You: Why to Show Up More Authentic
If you’re trying to lead like someone else, your team will sniff that out fast, and follow your lead. Trust starts with authenticity.
If you want your team to be real with you, be real with them.
6 Reasons Your Team Yearns for Authenticity
Your team needs you to be you. They yearn to experience the rare game-changing results that happen in a genuine environment of candor, deep respect, authenticity, and trust. And, here’s why they might be holding back.
1. They’ve been screwed before
Oh, they have stories. Trust me. I hear them. Assume somewhere along the line they’ve felt betrayed by an inauthentic leader.
Even if it’s not at your company or even under your watch, once upon a time a leader has lied to them. Guards are up. They need a good guy to restore their trust in authentic leadership. They need reassurance in action, not words. They’re not going to tell you the truth until they’re perfectly sure you’ve been doing the same and showing up with real authenticity.. over and over.
Your team also desperately wants to know that the good guys can (and do) win. There’s no better gift you can give your team than leading from who you are toward head-turning results. Be the authentic leader you want your boss to be.
2. You’re wasting YOUR energy
Keeping up appearances is an energy-sucking, never-ending vacuum of misery. Trying to lead like someone else, or spin the truth, will wear you down and make you cranky.
When leaders spend time working to show up differently than who they are, to win the game and keep up a facade, they waste precious energy that could be invested in creating a breakthrough vision, developing people, and working on the work.
3. You’re wasting THEIR energy
If your team senses you’re playing a game, they’ll spend a lot of time working to figure out the rules. In fact, if you’ve got surface success, they’ll be taking notes to learn to play it too. All that contagious facade building pulls hearts and minds from the important mission at hand. Authenticity saves energy.
4. You’re their lifeline
Particularly in a big organization, the immediate leader makes all the difference. You can’t outsource authentic leadership, not even to your boss, or to HR. They want to hear the story from you, and they want to know you’re not reading talk-points crafted from someone else. If they can’t trust you to be genuine where will they turn? That answer may be really dangerous.
5. They want to be like you- maybe
Some folks on your team have serious aspirations to move up in the scene. But they don’t want to lose their souls in the process. They’re watching you looking to see how you handle the pressure. Do you stay true to who you are, or are you being groomed to be “just like THEM.”
6. They have important news to share
They’ve got ideas and solutions, but your team wants to ensure they’ll have a receptive audience. If you’re afraid to share with them, they’ll be reluctant to share with you.
You’ve stumbled across one of my very earliest leadership blog articles. Since then, there’s been a whole lot of better writing going on 😉
If you’re interested in authenticity and authentic leadership, I encourage you to check out our books:
Winning Well: A Manager’s Guide to Getting Results– Without Losing Your Soul
and Courageous Cultures: How to Build Teams of Micro-Innovators, Problem Solvers, and Customer Advocates.