Authentic Leadership – Tips to Improve your Style

When it comes to leadership styles in management, there is one that is on everybody’s lips right now. Yes, that’s right; it’s Authentic Leadership, and it is quite a departure from what we have known before. In fact, Authentic Leadership is all about leading by nurturing, listening to, and appreciating those working under us. In this way, it is the quintessential human-centred approach to leadership. 

Of course, this is so important to business in the modern market, because this management approach has been found to boost team performance effectively. It also increases productivity, happiness and satisfaction of the individual as well. Which obviously can only be a good thing for business productivity, efficiency and ultimately profit. 

It is also worth highlighting that it is a much more inclusive and compassionate way of leading a business that matches well with our modern sentiments. One that is based on positive relationships and the character of the leader, rather than anything else. 

The Traits of Authentic Leaders 

Online you will find a variety of authentic leadership traits discussed. However, most can be boiled down into five key categories: purpose, values, self-discipline, heart, and relationships. Each of which is discussed in detail in the sections below. 

Purpose 

An excellent place to start when it comes to AL is purpose. After all, a good leader needs to understand how to motivate themselves and others. In fact, in this way purpose can be split into two main categories. The leader’s awareness of their own purpose and motivations, and their ability to convey and use this vision with others for ultimate long term success. 

To that end, those practising Authentic Leaderships need to be aware of their own purpose and motivations in life. Which is something that can be a lot more complicated than it first appears. In fact, it can often take a lot of self-development work to realise what things in life genuinely act as motivators for us, and which of these we want to continue to foster. 

After all, motivations may come in the form of external factors such as respect, status, or wealth, or internal ones, including meaning, enjoyment, and balance. Of course, traditionally in the business world, the former has been valued over the later. Although authentic leaders will recognise the importance of internal motivating factors and the need to combine them with the former. 

When it comes to inspiring purpose in others, Authentic Leaders need to focus on what will affect the long term success of a project. Of course, this will include the wellbeing, both personal and professional of the employees in their team. Something that means those practising Authentic Leadership need to balance demands for high-level performance with valuing and listen to those working under them. 

In fact, in this way, an AL can help to create the best environment for success, and so ensure not only the wellbeing of their team but the projects long term success as well. 

Dartboard shows purpose in authentic leadership

Values 

An AL leader also needs to demonstrate they have excellent values, and they will stick to these when working with others. 

In particular, integrity is crucial because it helps to earn them the trust of their team. Of course, integrity means being honest and doing what we promise. Thus demonstrating that we can be trusted and relied upon no matter what the situation. 

Openness is also an impost value for authentic leaders to show, as it too encourages trust. To that end, putting on a mask or performance for work is something that authentic leaders avoid at all costs. Instead, investing time into being genuine, warts and all. 

Lastly, when it comes to values, authentic leaders are consistent. That means their values guide their behaviour rather than their mood. Something that can make it much easier for those in their team to strike up a rapport with them, and form positive and productive relationships.

Self-discipline

A successful AL is also one that can demonstrate self-discipline. Although, it may not always be in the way those in the field of business would expect. 

In fact, there is evidence to suggest that being disciplined in maintaining a work-life balance is just as important as staying late every night. 

A real life example of this being Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook. Who despite being worth a cool billion dollars, and being active in the areas of equality and social advocacy, still highlights the vital importance to her own well being and ability to succeed that spending time with her family providers her.  

Heart 

Heart is another vital characteristic that authentic leaders require. In fact, heart can be defined in several ways, including leading in a way that truly connects with those on their team, and offers them what they need emotionally to push through to success. 

A great example of a leader with this quality being Candice Morgan Head of Inclusion of Pinterest. In fact, Morgan demonstrates emotional awareness of what her teams need, even in the onboarding stages, with issues such as imposter syndrome and belonging addressed as part of the company’s induction. Something that can help to reduce such worries in team members and ensure they do not get in the way of their wellbeing or success at work. 

Heart in those practising Authentic Leadership can also refer to the courage that managers have to show by doing the work of knowing and evaluating themselves. After all, it isn’t always easy to discover we aren’t quite as good at something as we thought. 

However, it is through such self-evaluation that we can come to a better understanding of who we are. This then allows us to be flexible enough in our self-image to be vulnerable and wrong on occasions. Something that can better help demonstrate our authenticity to those we manage and improve the relationship and communication we have with those under us.

Heart shape - important when being authentic

Relationships 

Speaking of relationships, the ability to forge and maintain them is essential to any useful AL. Of course, this requires many separate skills, one of which is to be able to really listen to what your team is telling you. Something that can be tough on leaders if they have not thought of that possibility. 

Additionally, in forging a productive relationship with those in your team, you must acknowledge the part they play in the success of your project. In fact, leaders that hog the praise and success for themselves are the antithesis of authentic. Therefore anyone looking to practice a more Authentic Leadership approach needs to (in addition to the traits above) be willing to share credit with their team. 

In Summary

In today’s workplace, can you afford to ignore the benefits of Authentic Leadership? In addition to embracing the advice in this article, read about our leadership and management courses, which can help give you the practical tools and techniques to make genuine change in your workplace.

Maximising The Use Of Collected Business Data

There’s a reason why firms spend millions investing in data sets or in curating their own data recovery and organisation methods. Maximising the use of collected business data is an important proofing system required at every stage of your decision-making process . Statistics and an informed look at results will always be your friends.

If you deal with large data sets and want to gain more insights, read our advice below to learn how to maximise your efficiency and productivity when working with business data.

Why is data so important?

Every action and decision you take will generate and inform its own set of data, and that in itself can be a valuable commodity. There are reasons that services such as Google, Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft offer their services for free. The data that surrounds you is valuable, because it can be used to predict your future habits and guide you towards favourable commercial results.

A lack of curating this massive surge in information gathering means you will be at a distinct disadvantage to your competition. It’s yet another business tool to invest in, but one that can help you restrict your bad faith or blind business choices with care. Successful business outcomes rely on this to no uncertain degree.

Additionally, structuring this metadata analysis in an understandable and readable manner is an important part of parsing this data. This means that a grassroots level, your staff should be trained in its curated. Microsoft Power BI and apps like it are known for the most curated integration of metadata, as well as tight excel integration, allowing your data gathering to sing to you rather than requiring time and effort to dig through.

But how are you supposed to keep on top of so much generated and curated information, and how can you use it to your best end result? Is it possible for an approach like this to be carefully wrapped and considered without much in the way of training, and if not, what skills are required to get the best out of this? We have some advice to help structure your willing development of data analysis, or alternatively take a look at our Power BI training London for even more detail.

Curating A Dashboard

It’s important for apps like Microsoft’s Power BI to show you a list of organised data, but it’s also important for you to set those preferences to fully view what you’re looking for. Training your staff in the functionality of keyboard shortcuts, or adhering to the correct dashboard motif and aesthetic you wish to keep as standard, learning how to integrate with apps like excel or manage past records can be an important step to take.

For the most part, these apps use a tile-like structure which allow for a cohesive layout and immediacy of presented data. That being said, it can be important for department leads to try and curate the most pressing and most uniform dashboard recommendations, allowing for the team to have access to the same working sets of data as they go about their business. Of course, data is one thing, but reading into it is another. Coming to somewhat different conclusions can provide value into your firm, and that means that while the dashboard overview is important, access to the underlying reports should also be seamless. This can all be aided by:

Visual Design & Workflow

It’s important to make the investment in visual screen real estate for your employees. Purchasing two or three monitors for their work space terminal will allow for a stationary and continually supportive immediate data reading that can prevent staff from having to juggle programs or tasks in order to get to the heart of an issue. 

When it comes to managing the programs effectively, be sure that aesthetics are not the only focus. We all love a pretty dataset with graphs and minimal framings, but without clear definitions, worthwhile labelling and digital app fluency, this can be a problem. To this end, multiple training seminars booked for your team can help them understand what they’re looking at, and how to explain that to a colleague. A design studio would struggle to manage an effect design space if the graphic artists failed to understand new Photoshop updates, and so workflow training efforts are an important part of the learning process.

Power Bi display of business data

Curate Your Service

Power Bi isn’t just a readily-available software package from a proprietary and completely fixed standpoint. The value in these packages is that they can be endlessly curated with plugins and integrations that help your personal business vantage point remain the clearest.

There are many content packs, app services, mods and templates to allow your best practice, meaning that it’s important to make the executive decisions about how this app should be used. For example, Google Analytics or even open-source software hosting platforms like GitHub can provide tracking data and meta-analysis to your cohesive power BI setup. If you’re failing to use these kinds of output, you’re immediately only yielding half of the potential possible within this software engine.

Predictive Capacities

Reading the data of the past is all well and good, but if it doesn’t inform our present action for a future result, we defeat the purposes of this inquiry to begin with. Using apps such as Power BI, you can drag sliding bars to show changes and to consider the potential pathways forward. You can also set increments of progress, or curate certain expansions or decreases of activity within a certain timeframe, compare your results to last year, and use forecasts of current capacity to see what your absolute maximum productivity considerations could be.

When you tell a story from this kind of data you are able to find a likely outcome, an ideal prediction, or the worst possible outcomes. This means you can begin to prepare for those daily structural measures that can lead you in the right direction, and also measure their impacting results in real-time. Additionally, ensuring that executives have access to more data can allow you to curate the information seen by your team, in order to make the most informed decisions possible. This can also help you promote team unity.

With that advice, we hope you can use apps like Power Bi to maximise the value of collected business data. To learn more and put this theory into action, check our one of our Microsoft BI training courses.