I’m keenly aware that the title of this blog post may be a little risky - however I’m not on this planet to stay safe….so here goes...I believe that striving for authenticity is a trap! Instead of striving for authenticity, I believe leaders need to strive to be intentional.
First, I’ll tell you why I think that and then I will share some ideas about how you can avoid the authenticity trap! The idea of reaching “authenticity” as a leader or being an “authentic” leader sounds wonderful in theory and falls short in practice. If I was truly acting in a manner that was authentic, (or felt authentic to me, which is really what this concept is about - and herein lies the trap) I would operate based on my values. I would communicate with others based on my beliefs, I would make all decisions according to my criteria, and I would actually come across as a rigid representation of what I believe is right. Having an understanding of your vision, purpose, values and strengths is foundational to being a good leader - and at the same time, truly becoming the best version of yourself cannot be done in isolation of those you want to lead and inspire.
Hence, the goal (not the destination, because of course “life is a journey” and all that….) is not to be authentic, but instead to be intentional. Being intentional means you are aware of what is important to you and what is important to those you serve in this life - whether it be as a leader, a parent, a friend or whatever role you are playing.
Being intentional means that you are fiercely connected to and living a life in alignment with your Leaderstamp (for those that don’t recognize that word yet - your Leaderstamp is your unique imprint on the world and it is made up of your vision, purpose, values, strengths, blots, people, platforms, habits and goals). Being intentional means that you are constantly choosing how you will operate and communicate based on the needs of those around you. Intention is not a destination it is the goal.
So how do you strive for intentionality over authenticity? Here are 3 simple (but not easy) ways:
1. Know yourself…defining your Leaderstamp is foundational to being intentional. Get your Leaderstamp Kickstart Guide and get started today!
2. Know your people - your audiences! Define 3 audiences that are important to your success and brainstorm 3 things you know are important to them. The next time you communicate with them, find a way to demonstrate that you know what is important to them. This small act will increase your intention and have the added bonus of building the relationship at the same time!
3. Build habits to proactively plan and reflect on how your opportunities and audiences are showing up in your daily leadership. This one starts with some brainstorming on current state. What are your current reflective habits each day or week? Find one way to increase your reflection time each week and you will be increasing your intentionality factor exponentially.
Want some help with this process? Book a complimentary clarity session and kickstart your exploration.