When author and consultant Jim Gilmore talks about authenticity, he’s talking about keeping consumer experiences real. To determine the authenticity of a product, Gilmore applies the “Polonius test,” derived from Shakespeare’s Hamlet. “Is the offering true to itself? Is the offering what it says it is?” Affirmative answers confirm a product’s authenticity.
But Gilmore’s test, and his authenticity lessons overall, apply just as well to leadership.A leader must be true to herself in order to lead in a genuine way. Here are three ways to start creating authentic leadership:
Create the right “experience” by setting the right example. Words are cheap; actions tell the story. Following through on promises is essential to trust. Employees remember outcomes because they live with the consequences.
Support the company’s mission and values. Employees need to know that their leaders believe in what the company does and how it conducts business. A disconnect between belief and action causes disruption in the form of declining morale and eventually declining productivity.
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Find ways to marry individual employee aspirations with organizational opportunities. Leaders need to find ways to maximize the talents and skills so the organization benefits and employees feel recognized and rewarded.
There is something else leaders can learn from Gilmore and his colleague, Joe Pine, authors of, most recently, Authenticity: What Consumers Really Want. They say that you need to enable people to gain a different perspective on their work. Every year, Pine and Gilmore stage experiential event they call thinkAbout; it is an opportunity to surface, experiment and challenge ideas in new and different ways. Managers can do the same by challenging people to adopt new perspectives as a means of shedding light on issues and problems.
This year’s thinkAbout will be in Las Vegas. But for Gilmore, all that glitters is not gold. “There are also some real lessons to be learned from the underbelly of Vegas — the real hurt, the real forlornness, the real misery — that’s there, like it’s everywhere, when you peel back the façade.” Same applies to leadership; You can put up an elaborate façade, but if you’re not authentic, people will see right through you.
Read full article via Start Creating Authentic Leadership – John Baldoni – Harvard Business Review.
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