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How authentic are you as a leader?


SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 210,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our e-newsletter.

How authentic are you as a leader?​

  • Extremely — Everyone knows pretty much everything about who I am: 28%
  • Very — My team knows the “true” me with a few exceptions: 54%
  • Kind of — My team knows me but not as well as they could:  13%
  • Not very — I tend to wear a “work face” most of the time: 3%
  • Not at all — I’m a totally different person at work than who I really am: 1%

Show them the real you. Authenticity boils down to stripping away pretenses and making yourself vulnerable. Until your people know the real you, they won’t fully trust you. Take a risk. Share something personal. Tell them about a time you failed, things you’re afraid of, and what you feel strongly about. Don’t let them walk around thinking you believe you’re infallible because we all know every one of us has flaws and failings. Strip out the buzzwords and eliminate the “corporate aura” if you want to make powerful connections with your team members. If you’re afraid to try this, start small. Tell them about a failure and see how the conversation goes. It’ll be more impactful and hurt less than you think. 

Mike Figliuolo is managing director of thoughtLEADERS and the host of the upcoming Executive Insight 16 — a leadership conference being held in New York this November.