Perfect leaders are not real and real leaders are not perfect. Now more than ever employees are looking to leaders not for perfection but for authenticity. Consequently, leaders who have the courage to be ‘real’ are more relatable and approachable.
Three key things you need to do to make yourself more ‘real’ so you can connect and engage with people effectively.
Leaders need to discover what they stand for; what they are passionate about, what they value and what they are prepared to take a stand for. Once these factors are identified, they then need to have the courage to bring them to their leadership.
Many leaders are unwilling to bring all of themselves to their leadership. They believe that they have to be bullet proof, to have all the answers and to not show any vulnerability or emotion...this approach is not working.
People are looking for leaders who are authentic, who show emotion and are prepared to show vulnerability. Showing vulnerability is not a weakness and as Brene Brown says, “vulnerability is the greatest measure of courage”.
2. Move from jargon to genuine
I was working with a CEO who would often talk about executional excellence and I noticed that most of his team did not fully understand what it meant or had different interpretations of its meaning. I raised this issue and asked him to explain the term to me. He said something along the lines of ‘it’s the combination of visualisation followed by the realisation of the agreed deliverables in line with strategic direction’. When pushed further and with evident frustration he said, ‘Put simply what it means is when we decide to do something, let’s just make sure we do it right’.
I know that executional excellence uses fewer words but when did we start taking leadership lessons from Twitter guidelines. Every time leaders use corporate jargon they isolate and disconnect from people. Leaders need to use less jargon and be prepared to be more genuine and say it as it is.
3. Business is personal – share stories
Leaders who believe that business is business and personal is personal and never shall the two meet, will struggle to connect and inspire today’s generation. Essentially the two can be successfully merged when leaders have the courage and ability to share a personal story attached to a business message.
With so much information available today people are not looking for more facts and figures, they are looking for leaders to make meaning out of this information. To communicate in a way that is relevant and that truly connects. Hence, business stories need to be relevant for the audience, deliver on a key message and have enough intrigue to be engaging. It is a skill that is well worth the time and energy for leaders to master.
Gabrielle Dolan works across Corporate Australian helping leaders humanise the way the lead by being more ‘real’. Her latest book Ignite: Real leadership, real talk, real results, is available online at all major retailers. To find out more head to www.gabrielledolan.com