COVER ARTIC LE
Authentic Voice As
6 ways to put your audience (and
you) in touch with your true self
By Judith Humphrey
“Authenticity” is a much-touted
term today. As Adam Grant
writes in the New York Times,
‘We are in the Age of Authenticity,
where ‘be yourself’’ is the defining
advice in life, love and career…
We want to live authentic lives,
marry authentic partners, work
for an authentic boss, vote for
an authentic president.” And, of
course, be authentic ourselves.
But what does it mean to be
authentic? The Greek root of
‘authenticity’ is authentikos
meaning ‘original’ or ‘genuine.’ We
express our authenticity when
we share what’s inside us, what’s
genuine to us, what’s original in
us. Authenticity is not a state; it’s
an act of self-expression… What,
then, is authentic leadership?
It involves sharing the genuine
qualities that define us. But it is
more than that. It also requires
embracing the values and deep
beliefs that represent leadership
at its best.
People today are hungry for
this authentic leadership.
That’s because in today’s flatter
organizations, in the absence of
traditional hierarchies and rules,
people are looking for role models,
for lessons to ponder, for truth as
we see it within ourselves. And
your everyday conversations give
you the opportunity to find and
project your own authentic self
and turn others into followers.
Strategies for Showing
There are many ways to bring
your authentic self forward.
The following six will put your
audience (and you) in touch with
your true self.
First, share your presence.
The starting point of projecting
authenticity is to be present—
really, really there. This is far
more than simply making yourself
available for a meeting—or
standing in front of the person
you’re talking to, or glancing
up from your smartphone as
someone asks, ‘Do you have
a minute?’ It is about being ‘in
the moment,’ being open to the
conversation and aligned with the
person or people you’re talking to.
Second, share your ideas.
Authenticity also means having
the courage to share your
thinking. There are many reasons
people may not do so. Some find
it easy to parrot the words and
ideas of others—thinking that
if they echo others, nobody will
challenge or disagree with them.
Others may hold back because
they feel ‘corporate speak’ is safer
than coming out with their own
views. Authentic ideas, in contrast,
are original, bold ideas that come
from within you. Leaders need to
delve deep to find them.
Third, share your beliefs and
values. Authentic leaders inspire
others with their beliefs and
values. To unearth your most
deeply held beliefs, follow
Rosabeth Moss Kanter’s guidance
in her book, Evolve! She advises
that you ask yourself, ‘Do I feel
Leadership Excellence presented by HR.com MAR 2018 5 Submit Your Articles