Making Authenticity Real – A Leadership Checklist

A lot of research ( e.g. Harvard Business Review and Leadership & Organization Development Journal) shows that employees’ perception of authentic leadership is the strongest predictor of job satisfaction and can have a positive impact on work-related attitudes. Most employees believe authenticity in the workplace leads to better relationships with colleagues, higher levels of trust, greater productivity, and a more positive working environment. Much of the research contains detailed definitions and lists of attributes of authentic leaders, but how do you really know if you are leading authentically?

Here is a leadership checklist to test if you are leading authentically.

  1. Are you committed enough about your leadership to ask these questions? If you are interested in asking and reflecting on these questions, you are already on the authentic journey. Authenticity isn’t a destination; it’s an inquiring and honest method of travel.
  2. Do you care? Do you care about the people around you and what matters to them? Do you care about your work? Do you care about your own growth? Do you care enough about your team to help them find their gifts? And do you care enough to put the success of the team ahead of your own career advancement?
  3. Are you open to feedback? Are you open to know how your behavior impacts those around you? To learn about your blind spots and become more self-aware? Are you committed to learn to be graceful in receiving criticism? Are you willing to get past defending yourself and pretending you have it all together?
  4. Are you honest? We understand the importance of not stealing from your organization or lying to your employees. But there is another kind of honesty: self-honesty – accepting that you aren’t perfect. Honesty is understanding your strengths and weaknesses and ensuring people on your team are needed and valued by helping to fill the gaps.
  5. Do you keep your promises? Authentic people are accountable. We call people who think they are authentic but who can’t be counted on flakes. Flakes can’t be trusted. So don’t be a flake. Earn trust by being trustworthy.
  6. Do you enjoy your life? Do you enjoy waking up in the morning and coming to work – at least most days? One way to measure good leadership is that good leaders enjoy themselves. Authenticity means you’re living a life that belongs to you, which means you’re enjoying it. And if you are enjoying it, there’s a good chance people around you are enjoying working with you and finding some fulfillment in their work.