The real work is ensuring we make more money. That’s what the shareholders want and so we need to work hard, grow, and put energy into developing smarter ways to do business to, yes make more money. This is a reality of the context of many in business.
So when we talk authenticity it’s tempting to think that it’s nice, we’ll feel better, but in the end we’ll have the real work to do. I agree that you can push on, focussing only on pushing the business and you will most likely achieve some impressive results. You probably know people that do that. Or maybe you are one of those people. Maybe you admire those people – the high achievers, hard-hitters that take no prisoners. Maybe you secretly wish you were like that.
When I open a Leadership Forum in Wellington next month during Leadership Week
I will talk about authenticity and business results. I will challenge that if you look at the hard-hitting leader – the hard driver – you’ll likely notice one of two things: they move on or people around them move on. The leader who survives by pushing hard will have to keep pushing hard. Inevitably, pushing harder and harder becomes necessary until the next project. Which pretty well sums it up. A project.
The authentic leader pushes hard too. He or she knows when to drive forward in moments of crisis, when there are challenging changes to put in place. The authentic leader is not just running a driving leadership academy though.
The authentic leader leads from a place of understanding self, appreciating strengths and recognising that there will be strengths in his or her team that will form the bigger part of what they need to achieve. Not just what he or she has. So within that team there will be other leaders who will drive what needs to be driven at different times and when needed. A team from which will come leaders of tomorrow. A collective too, of IQ and EQ that has exponential capability beyond the numbers.
Are you the leader who only drives hard to achieve what needs to be achieved? Like a project manager. Or are you leading others authentically who will collectively drive the business results?
What will you choose? Both can work, we know that. Both will probably be remembered too. Will you be remembered for the things you created or for the people who grew to create more than you could?
I say do what is right for you and your circumstance, but don’t pretend. Either that it’s authentic leadership to drive without trust or be authentic while thinking that it’s just nice, but not real. It’s real alright. Real hard and risky.
Yes, authentic leadership is risky. You’ll likely be thought of as soft and not business-like. At first. Strange that – taking a significant business and personal risk but being thought of as soft. No way!