5 Ways to Show People You Really Are Authentic

We were at a department store looking at some shirts in the men’s department on sale. After over 10 years in retail, including as a buyer, I love nice clothes, but I’m cheap when it comes to spending money on myself. When I can find a good bargain I’m excited. I saw a shirt I really liked, but I quickly knew it wasn’t for me. A decade ago, it might have been an okay style for me, but today, someone would think I should be acting my age.

The dilemma for me these days, as I shop for clothes, is to find clothes which are stylish, but age appropriate. One method I use is to consider what my boys would say is “cool”, but what would not embarrass them. It is usually a good indicator.

It got me thinking, however, about a more important issue. I was reminded the image a person portrays can be huge in determining people’s perception of the leader. In a day when authenticity is valued by all, but especially the younger generation, I want to be “perceived” as being authentic. I want people I’m attempting to lead to take me serious as a leader.

Here are 5 ways to help people perceive you as authentic:

Dress your age

This may not sound like a leadership principle, but it is. It is a biggie for me and my goal these days. I’m 52 years old. There are some “cool” styles which aren’t cool for 52 year olds. Knowing the difference is huge. Each season of life seems to have it’s own style. Dress within yours. If you aren’t sure, ask some people around you whom you trust. (Again, my boys help me.)

Admit your mistakes

Take responsibility for the things you’ve done wrong or when a project goes wrong and it was your idea. Own up to your bad decisions. If you pass blame or refuse to own up to a problem you’ll be perceived as a weak and pretend leader.

Be honest

Don’t exaggerate who you are, your position, influence, or knowledge. Don’t pretend your church or organization is bigger than it really is. Tell the truth about you and the organization you lead. People can usually spot a phony and dismiss your influence in their life.

Don’t try to impress others

The harder you try the less they seem to be impressed. Be yourself – not who you wish you were. No one does a better you than you do. Simply strive to be the best you you can be.

Be a good listener

Be slower to speak. Don’t always have the answer. Even when you do, sometimes back off and let someone else take the lead. You show people you’re real if you act like they are – and it is worth hearing what they have to say.

What else would you add?

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Ron Edmondson

Author Ron Edmondson

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Join the discussion 13 Comments

  • While it’s instructive to watch and learn from others, this is often solely the tip of the iceberg. productive leaders perceive that the trail of leadership could be a journey of discovery … regarding themselves. we tend to don't seem to be textbooks to be browse once and so place away to collect mud. Our lives square measure a living testimony to alter, growth, and revived hope.

  • Tom Holland says:

    You remember what a clothes horse I used to be. Now I'm buying most of my clothes off of Ebay–preowned. I can get 10 shirts for the price of one new one. Ebay guarantees their quality. They usually come to me with the cleaner's tags on them, but I run them through again. Some things just not as important as they used to be.

  • — Not being phoney in our appreciation and communication
    — Show up. Be accessible to the people whom we lead.
    — Understand the principle that leadership is not a popularity contest and act without manipulative intention. (Realize the importance of the truth that "a leader must be 'respected' more than 'liked'.)
    — Practice 'servant leadership'.

  • Kmac4him

    Great post! I agree, even though I seem to have my own “personal style” the basic form of it fits my age. Be-LAME! Is a great way I remember not to blame. Exaggeration is something that dominated my past life and God worked hard to get that out of my life. I have to guard against it. The more God controls the all of me, the less I need to impress others. Still working on the being a good listener one, that is a work in progress for me! I trip over my design, God made me wordy so listening is the side of my giftedness that needs to be continually worked on.
    I would add be careful with “nostalgia”. It is good to look back, but sometimes “nostalgia” becomes a shiny trophy we are constantly drawing attention too. Because God is always doing a “new thing” this is where the genuine of your life will shine. If you get stuck in the nostalgia of the past, it is kind of makes your genuine life look like a flat paint that does not reflect LIGHT. Me I prefer a life of genuine glory glow, which looks like a coat of enamel paint. Is your authentic flat or enamel?

  • Jodee says:

    How timely. I'm goin shopping with my kids today. One of my kids already has picking out my clothes figured out so today I'll work on the "listening" point. 😉

  • Bryankr

    When I was younger, blue jeans was the thing to wear! It was easier. Every shirt went well with them, could even wear a tie with them! Problem is, when I got older, my body just didn’t do well with jeans. I was forced into wearing something a little “roomier”. I guess this goes with one you’ve already listed, but listen to your body! I wear kakies now.

  • Melissa says:

    Looks like you've got it all covered! Love the photo included with the blog….ouch! I might want to add, keep good eye contact during conversation, ties into your listening point…but worth repeating. Oh yea, please and thank you go a long way as well.

    Enjoy your day Ron.

    • ronedmondson says:

      I love please and thank you…especially in a service type setting. Hate seeing waiters and waitresses treated like servants.

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