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Business Leadership as Usual, or More Authentically?

Byline: Katrina Waddy

Business Leadership as Usual, or More Authentically?

Can you believe it? We're into year two of the most surreal, pandemonius experience of our lives. At least now there's anticipation that we are almost out of the woods - and understanding that things, in our personal and professional lives, will likely never be the same.

In our workplaces, the term "business as usual" is taking on new meaning as hand sanitizer stations, forehead thermometers, masks, plexiglass partitions and floor-spacing indicators are the biggest part of physical office makeovers. There's also much more empathy for remote employees participating on Zooms while silencing an energetic child or pet or obtaining "IT assistance" from a family member.

Authentic leaders leave legacies of inspiration and respect in their workplaces, communities and households.

Changes in business as usual also provide opportunities for leaders to show real authenticity because teams tend to respond better to leaders who are authentic and genuine. Beyond the obvious - embracing their true selves, striving for excellence and telling it like it is - authentic leaders leave legacies of inspiration and respect in their workplaces, communities and households. Gauge your own authenticity by asking yourself a few questions:

Do you understand how your actions and words affect others? There are several ways to show that you care about your team's success, starting with being mindful of what you say, how you say it and making sure that your actions back up your words. Provide clear communication that outlines your goals and those of your department, how they funnel up to the organization's overall mission, as well as constructive (not destructive) steps that your team can take to help meet these goals.

Do you act ethically and transparently? No matter how things have been done at your company, stand up for your employees when their righteous acts or unpopular opinions single them out as lone minorities (pun intended). Be bold enough to question unfair practices and the status quo. If you see something, say something; then, let your team in on what's going on. (Article continues below)


Is your way the only way? Merely stating that you're open to input and suggestions won't cut it; you have to understand that you don't know and can't do it all. A second opinion from someone with a new and different perspective may likely help you move beyond your preconceived biases or outdated views to reach the best decision or develop the best action plan.

Do you courageously manage up? Depending on your position, you might serve as the conduit between your department and senior leadership. So, instead of simply kowtowing to the latter's unrealistic deadlines or complex assignment requests, be fearless in providing the necessary information, details and processes to properly manage their expectations about your team's bandwidth and ability to complete projects in a reasonable amount of time.

Do you take time to pour into your team? True story: a department head and her direct report worked for an organization for more than 10 years, serving in the same positions in which they were hired. Unfortunately, the department head's sudden, unexpected death revealed that the direct report had received little to no professional development. In fact, the direct report had become passive and indifferent about seeking or taking advantage of growth opportunities. In stark contrast, authentic leaders relish in the growth and professional development of their team by pouring into them the necessary knowledge, skills, coaching or resources. These leaders also understand that setting their teams up for success ultimately leads to the overall success of the organization.

As companies begin to emerge from the ripple effects of a masked-up, socially distanced workforce, authentic management styles can go a long way in inspiring loyalty and trust in employees and contributing to job satisfaction. Ultimately, authentic leadership can enhance business forecasts and positively change the trajectory of business as usual.
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Author:Waddy, Katrina
Publication:Carrier Management
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 25, 2021
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