In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m passionate about authentic leadership: showing up and leading others while remaining true to what’s really important, guided by the aim of making the world a better place.
We are bombarded from an early age with messages about what it means to be successful, and the type of person you need to be in order to be a leader.
But what if those messages weren’t always true?
What if those messages were just the ideas and models passed down through the generations by the leaders at that time, living in a different society and a different world?
If we want to change the (tech) world so that it is more inclusive, collaborative and connected, we need to ensure that our leaders embrace inclusivity, collaboration and connection too.
We need to redefine what it means to be a leader, and what better way to do this than to step up and become the leaders we want to see?
These 7 qualities describe the elements that I think are needed to be a great, authentic leader, and the type of leader I admire, and the leader I aspire to be.
1. An Authentic Leader Knows What's Important To Them
When you know what you stand for, it’s easier to speak out, stay true to your purpose and overcome any obstacles or challenges that get in the way.
Authentic leaders are clear on their mission, using the things that are important to them as a beacon to guide themselves and others to make a difference in the world.
2. An Authentic Leader Creates Time For The Things That Matter
There will always be more to do than there is time to do it, especially when you are good at what you do.
Authentic leaders prioritise the things that are important, knowing that they will have most impact when they focus on doing the things that matter to them.
3. An Authentic Leader Puts Themselves First.
We have the most impact when we are at our best. We are more creative, more resourceful, more collaborative, make better decisions and are more productive when we look after ourselves. And we are better at helping others too.
Authentic Leaders know that putting themselves first isn’t selfish. It’s about honouring their needs so that they can invest their energy where it’s needed most.
4. An Authentic Leader Understands Their State of Mind
The state of our mind affects how we see and interpret the world. When our mind is busy with thoughts rushing around, things feel stressful, pressured and overwhelming. When our mind is calm and clear, the same situation can feel like an opportunity.
Authentic Leaders understand the impact their state of mind has on how they see and react to the world, and know when to get stuck in and when to step away. With this increased self-awareness, they are kinder to themselves and more forgiving to others.
5. An Authentic Leader Influences Through Connection
You can’t be a leader without having followers. For people to follow you need to have influence. To have authentic influence you need to build connection.
Authentic leaders know how to lead people in a connected and collaborative way, listening to their needs and motivations, helping to unlock their value, and bringing them together to achieve more than they could individually.
6. An Authentic Leader Knows They Are Resilient
Things are never certain, there is no right way, and nothing ever goes exactly as planned. We will get things wrong, make mistakes and people will disagree with our ideas.
Authentic leaders know that they are ok, no matter what happens. They are resilient to whatever life throws at them. When things go wrong, they don’t take it personally or look for someone to blame, they get back up, learn from what happened and take the next step along their way.
7. An Authentic Leader Goes With The Flow
Nature flows. The natural energy of life is powerful, and when we’re tuned into that energy, things unfold naturally and easily. When we stop fighting and pushing and open up to the flow, we spot opportunities that would otherwise be missed.
Authentic leaders know what they are aiming for, but work with the natural flow of life to get there. Sometimes that means things take longer, or that there’s a different route to originally planned, but by remaining flexible and open they often discover opportunities which allow them to go beyond anything anyone has imagined.
Take a moment to reflect on these leadership qualities:
- Which of these qualities resonate most with you?
- How many of them do you exhibit?
- Are there some you’d like to work on?
- Are there other qualities you’d like to add?
Use what comes to you to guide your own development and how you decide to grow as a leader.
These qualities all underpin the structure of my Authentic Tech Leaders Mentorship Programme, which opens its doors to a new cohort every 6 months, with the next cohort starting next Monday (26th Sept).
If you’d like to deepen your authentic leadership skills amongst a fantastic community of other women in tech, you can secure your place here, or feel free to book a last-minute chat to talk it through with me here.
Doors close on Saturday at midnight, so if you’re thinking about it, act quick!
And if you’d like to hear more about each of the qualities, you’ll find them described in more depth over the next few days with one small step you can take toward each in my Authentic Visibility For Women In Tech Facebook community.