Respectful authenticity is about this constant process of being truthful – first with yourself and then with others. To say the things that need to be said. And to do it in a kind and respectful way. Being authentic isn’t about saying whatever you think or feel. That’s going to be damaging to either you personally, to others, or to the company.
Authenticity Isn’t License to be an SOB
Being authentic doesn’t give you license to be an SOB. Do you know someone who has a “This is me – like it or not attitude?” or “I’m mad and am entitled to yell at people.” Respectful authenticity isn’t about doing whatever you want and not caring about the people around you.
I like to think about it this way. Respectfully Authentic leaders have quiet courage as they relate to others. (The other two elements of Respectful Authenticity are Knowing Yourself and Being Your Best Self.) This isn’t Rambo courage but rather a courage that comes from deep inside.
Respectfully Authentic Leaders are Sensitive to Others
Respectfully authentic leaders are sensitive to others’ needs. That’s the secret. They’re looking out for the best interests of others. What they’re not doing is focusing solely on themselves, and are careful not to take authenticity too far.
As they share their truths with quiet courage, they flex their leadership style. They consider what the audience can understand, process and make use of. Giving someone information they have little way to process or to understand can just create confusion and anxiety.
All this requires reflection on your part before you speak or act. In other words, in some cases, you have to be planful and purposeful (you can’t wing it), which allows you to respond in a more grounded way. When you do, you can trust yourself more and be more confident that you know you’ve thought things through.
And wouldn’t the workplace be even better with more leaders who reflect, and demonstrate Quiet Courage as they communicate with others?
How are you doing at leading with Quiet Courage?
– David Grossman
For more on Respectful Authenticity, make sure you attend Grossman’s session – Help the leaders you work with be more authentic – on Monday, November 6 from 3:45 – 5:00 pm EST.
David Grossman, ABC, APR, Fellow PRSA, CSP, helps leaders drive productivity and get the results they want through authentic and courageous leadership communication. He’s a sought-after speaker and advisor to Fortune 500 leaders. A three-time author, David is CEO of The Grossman Group, an award-winning Chicago-based strategic leadership development and internal communication consultancy; clients include: Astellas, Eastman Chemical Company, Health Quest, Hill-Rom, Lockheed Martin, McDonald’s, NYU Langone Health, Tenneco and Wyndham, to name a few. Click these links to follow him on Twitter @ThoughtPartner and Facebook and to connect on LinkedIn.