Unlocking Authentic Leadership: 10 Essential Tips Everyone Should Embrace

Authentic leaders understand that leadership is not about wielding power; it’s about empowering those around them.

Authentic leadership is a powerful force that inspires and empowers individuals to bring their true selves to the forefront of their roles. Authentic leaders will guide teams toward success while having a positive impact on organizational culture and the lives of those they lead. They can do this because they’re self-aware, transparent, and genuine in how they work with those around them.

1. Become self-aware and aware of others

To be authentic, leaders must have a deep understanding of their own strengths, weaknesses, values, and emotions. Through introspection, self-assessment, and feedback they gain valuable insight into where they thrive as well as areas for personal development and growth.

Additionally, astute leaders have a trusted “board of advisors” to bounce things off of, mentor them, as well as provide invaluable positive and constructive feedback. All of this supports a personal mindset for continuous growth.

Keep in mind, authentic leadership doesn’t stop with self-awareness — it’s just one element of emotional intelligence that supports their ability to understand others. Authentic leaders have a keen sense of how their behaviors and actions impact those around them. This allows them to adapt their leadership approach to better meet the needs of their team, and empower them while creating a respectful environment where individuals can thrive. It’s impressive to see this in action.

2. Stay connected to the mission

Strong and effective leaders have a deep and unwavering connection to the organization’s mission and purpose — the guiding force that unites the team under a common goal and instills a shared sense of purpose among its members.

Beyond comprehension, authentic leaders align their personal values with the mission, allowing their beliefs and principles to fuel their leadership style. This alignment creates genuine passion and commitment, inspiring team members to share in the collective vision.

3. Be motivational and inspire change

At the heart of motivating and inspiring change is a clear and compelling vision. Leaders must craft a vivid picture of success, both for the organization and their team. They have to be able to effectively communicate this vision to ignite a sense of purpose and direction within their teams, fueling a collective drive to move forward.

While motivation varies among individuals, authentic leaders know how to adapt their approach to meet each person’s own unique motivators by speaking to and encouraging them in ways that resonate with them.

4. Prioritize self-regulation

A hallmark of authentic leadership is the ability to practice self-regulation, recognizing the significant role emotions play in decision-making and interactions. These leaders have high emotional intelligence allowing them to manage their emotions effectively and respond to challenging situations with composure, clarity, and appropriateness.

Moreover, they create a culture of open communication within the team, fostering an environment where team members feel comfortable expressing their ideas and speaking up about challenges. By prioritizing self-regulation, authentic leaders foster a positive work environment that encourages growth and well-being for both them and their team members.

5. Consistently seek out feedback

Individuals and leaders alike will grow and thrive in an environment where feedback is not only welcomed but truly valued. This fosters a culture of open communication and mutual respect. Setting the example and demonstrating receptiveness to feedback allows them to encourage their team members to share their thoughts and observations without fear of judgment or repercussions.

When receiving feedback, authentic leaders listen attentively and without defensiveness, displaying genuine interest in understanding the perspectives of others. They view feedback as an opportunity for growth and self-improvement, reflecting on the input received and taking actionable steps to refine their leadership skills.

6. Learn to pivot with precision

Pivoting is not about blindly or rashly changing direction — it requires understanding and the awareness that comes from being strategic and thoughtful. Authentic leaders carefully assess the potential outcomes and consequences of each change, ensuring that it aligns with the organization’s mission, goals, and values.

Effective leaders are transparent with their team — gaining buy-in and support for the necessary changes — while encouraging creative problem-solving and experimentation.

7. Embrace relationship transparency

To embrace relationship transparency, authentic leaders openly and graciously listen to team members’ concerns, feedback, and suggestions. They demonstrate empathy and understanding, creating an inclusive and safe space for diverse perspectives.

Leaders hold themselves accountable for mistakes and miss-steps while seeking to resolve conflicts constructively and quickly. This level of transparency and vulnerability strengthens the bond between leaders and team members, reinforcing trust and commitment to shared goals.

8. Master balance processing

To master balance processing, authentic leaders continuously hone their ability to remain composed amidst complexity and ambiguity. They stay receptive to new information and welcome feedback from team members, seeking insights that inform their decision-making.

Striking the right balance also requires self-awareness, enabling leaders to recognize their own biases and preferences, and objectively evaluate choices. By fostering a culture of inclusive decision-making, they harness the collective intelligence of their team, resulting in more well-rounded and informed choices.

9. Value diverse perspectives

Diversity and various opinions are catalysts for innovation. Dynamic and authentic leaders create diverse teams by bringing together individuals with different experiences and viewpoints which can lead to breakthrough ideas and creative problem-solving. By leveraging the strengths of a diverse team, leaders drive innovation and gain a competitive edge in the market.

10. Uphold moral integrity

Authentic leaders actively work towards creating an ethical culture within their organization. They establish clear guidelines and expectations for ethical behavior, ensure that these standards are consistently communicated throughout the organization, hold themselves accountable for any missteps, and use these experiences as opportunities for learning and course correction. Promoting open communication and providing channels for reporting ethical concerns fosters an environment where employees feel safe and empowered to act ethically.

At the heart of authentic leadership is a deep commitment to personal growth and the growth of others. Authentic leaders understand that leadership is not about wielding power; it’s about empowering those around them.

Paul Bramson
Paul Bramson has been described as a powerhouse on keynote stages and in training arenas. He is distinguished as being one of the most effective speakers, trainers, and executive coaches in the world today. He is considered a global authority and thought leader in the areas of leadership, sales & communication. With over 25 years of experience in educating, speaking, and coaching, Paul has a unique ability to connect with professionals, leaders, and teams at all levels, providing them with valuable insights and empowering them with the most relevant knowledge and skills. Paul grew up in Boston, graduated from Boston University, and currently resides in Atlanta, GA.