7 Ways to Maintain Authentic Leadership

.A few years ago I met with a group of Millennials in our church – asking them to help me think through leadership today. The most repeated word was “authentic”. Funny , they couldn’t necessarily define the term, but they apparently know when they see it – and when they don’t.

I was talking with a young staff member of another church a few years ago. She said the reason she struggles to follow her pastor is he isn’t off stage who he claims to be on stage. She said he yells at staff members, doesn’t protect his family and never encourages others.

How can we be respected and remain respected as authentic as leaders?

7 thoughts to maintain authentic leadership:

Make sure yes is yes and no is no.

This likely means not over committing so you can follow through on commitments made. It means learning to prioritize and learning to delegate. Team members need to know you can always be depended upon as a person of your word. It helps people learn you’re worthy to follow.

Don’t call it awesome if it was mediocre at best.

Many leaders pretend something is better than it really is – rather than admit when something could be improved. We exaggerate our success and the success of the organization. Some pastors pretend our church is bigger than it really is. We can also pretend our life is more perfect than it really is. All the while our team is watching. People soon spot a pretender.

Don’t claim to know everything – or act like you do.

No one knows everything. People know when we don’t. It’s better to admit it on our own. Plus, we devalue the contribution of others when we pretend to have all the answers.

Don’t receive credit when it’s not deserved.

Taking credit for other people’s work is not only wrong, it causes people to mistrust leadership. Authentic leaders seek recognition for others equal or more than their own. They share ownership of recognition for the team’s success.

Ask for help.

Every leader needs it. Authentic leaders seek it. And they give credit to where they received it. If you want to be respected by your team – ask for their input – and take their suggestions.

Remain accessible and accountable.

Authentic leaders are always accessible to people they lead. They live transparent lives in front of all people and completely open to a few. People need to have the freedom to ask the hard questions and challenge us where necessary.

Admit failures and confess fears.

Everyone trying to follow a leader knows the flaws of the leader. Authentic leaders readily own up to them. Authentic leaders push through fear but don’t pretend the fear is not real. They shoulder their burdens with their team.

What are some other ways you spot authentic leadership?

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Ron Edmondson

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