The power of authentic leadership

When we think about businesses we admire, we usually think about the leader. This is because gaining respect requires a human element, and as consumers, employees, news readers or investors, we feel more connected to a business if we feel we know – and admire – the people behind it.

No one would disagree on the importance of strong leadership to a business’ success. But many people don’t fully appreciate the importance of leading in a genuine, authentic way.

The concept of authentic leadership has been championed by business experts for some time. It describes leaders who are genuine, moral and character-based, and who are committed to building enduring organisations. These top executives have a deep sense of purpose, are true to their personal values, possess the courage to shape their company to best meet its stakeholders’ needs, and recognise their greater role in society.

This may sound like an ideal, but authentic leadership is achievable. To be in a position of power, enough people have trusted the values and vision of the leader – they are already an inspiring figure in some way.

The challenge that we often see businesses in the region face is encouraging their leaders to open up to their employees and external audiences.

Communicators play an important role in addressing any hesitations leaders may have, helping them understand the benefits of authentic leadership, and equipping them with the right tools and platforms.

Employees perform better under authentic leaders.

Authentic leadership supports a more engaging workplace and satisfied employees who are passionate about what they do. It’s not just communicators who believe this to be true – studies have proven that authentic leadership is a key determinant of employee satisfaction, and it improves wellbeing and work-related quality of life. Authentic leadership also enhances employees’ creativity levels and ability to overcome obstacles, and helps strengthen their commitment to the organisation.

Businesses perform better.

High levels of employee engagement are better for business – this is a widely acknowledged fact. Less well-recognised, however, is the direct correlation between a business’ performance and the perception of its leader.

Over the past two months we have seen both Tesla and Intel grapple with sharp declines in shares following controversial behaviour from their leaders. The public lost faith in them, and their customers disconnected.

Both leaders were well-known and arguably well-liked, and if they were in other job positions the slipups may have been less damaging. But as a leader, a consistently positive reputation is expected – and this is where being seen to be authentic is critical.

Proactive leadership communications – both internally and externally – can help businesses position their leaders in an authentic way and see the return benefits.

At Spurwing, our team of communication experts can guide you through your next employee engagement, thought leadership campaign or leadership profiling project.

We can help identify opportunities for your customers and employees to get to know your leaders and articulate their thinking, values, and drives in a credible way.

Contact if you would like to know more about our work and how we can work together to achieve your strategic communications goals.

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