A woman can always tell the difference between a knock-off Coach purse and an authentic one. Whether it’s the slight sheen of the faux-leather, the minor enlargement of the checkered-pattern, or the one-shade-off color brown of the bag, a girl always knows. Similarly, an employer can always tell when their boss is putting on a show or being inauthentic.
In today’s workplace, being a good leader means being genuine, dependable, and engaging. It means being authentic. What does that mean, exactly? To put it simply, a leader should be someone whose actions align with the values they promote. For instance, if you tell your friends that wearing deodorant is highly overrated, then you shouldn’t wear deodorant — okay, bad example. Please wear deodorant, it’s a total necessity and not at all overrated.
Anyways, as a boss, following your own belief-system leads to a better staff retention, improved employee performance, and more united team.
Unfortunately, to be a good leader, you can’t just “be yourself.” It requires a little more effort than that (sigh, why can’t life be simple?). But here are the steps to take to become a stand-up leader.
1. Communicate. Some days, you might have to send an email to your staff at 1am even though you told them to grab a cocktail when 5 o’ clock hits cause they’re off the clock. Point being, why are you sending a mass email when you told your employees they were off for the night? Why is your behavior conflicting with your spoken message? Communicate — EXPLAIN — to your employees that the reason for your behavior is circumstantial and outside of your control.
2. Don’t be a saint (and by that I mean this: try not to be ‘holier than thou.’) Show your flaws, make mistakes, be human. Set a good example, but don’t make your employees feel like you are made of marble. You weren’t crafted by Michaelangelo himself, so don’t act like it!
3. Understand your audience. Pretend you are Jimmy Fallon on the Late Night talkshow — what kind of joke would you tell? Probably not the same joke that you’d tell to your 80 year old Southern Baptist grandma (or at least, I hope not…). Anyways, what do your employees value? How do they think? And how can you convince them that your actions truly do match your words?
Remember that authenticity achieves positive results.
And it might be worth it to buy the real Coach purse — it’s better quality.