Never Be Afraid to Lead with Your True Self

In a recent leadership training program I was taken back by one leader’s view of how they should show up in the workplace. When they looked around at their team members they sensed that their style wasn’t fitting in. Many of their team members were outspoken and this leader shared their opinions in a softer way. Additionally, the leader was very methodical in their approach and sometimes took more time to process data before rendering a suggestion.When the rest of the team heard that their teammate was feeling “different” in some way they were surprised. Although there were differences in style, it was clear that the leader was a highly valued member of the team. In fact, the team relied on this leader for thinking things through when others offered quick responses to challenges. They depended on the leader to be the “voice of reason”, never sharing before deep analysis.The leader was stunned to learn about the team’s perspectives and understood the importance of their contribution to the team. There was no need to change for their team. They just needed to lead with their style .

Never Be Afraid To Lead With Your True Self Because It:

1. Serves As A Compass

Whatever our natural style or approach, when we use it in our professional worlds we will always be moving in the right direction. Why? Our style is made up of both our personality and behavior that impacts our daily actions and decisions. When we allow our natural way of communicating to rule, we will always contribute using our strengths. A leader's true self is their compass to impactful decisions and actions.

2. Brings Out Our Best Qualities

When we can share our true self with our team members we will be our strongest and most productive. We will not be hiding behind the styles of our teammates but rather offering our best sides. What’s the best way to showcase our true self?
  • Become self-aware of how you process and receive information. Are you more auditory or visual? That is your natural preference.
  • Identify how your team members process information and make sure to share it in a way they can best receive it.
  • Recognize your strongest abilities and offer to help using them.
  • Let your interests guide your choices in stretch assignments to allow your leadership to grow in the best direction for you.
  • 3. Builds Up Our Confidence

    When we nourish our true self we develop strategies that boost our confidence levels. Leaders who feel empowered to lead with their core values and ethics will display a leadership style that emanates confidence. When we realize that our team members accept us for who we are we become more comfortable showing all our sides. We realize we don’t have to change to suit anybody else’s style. We learn that we can be successful in our workplaces even if we have different perspectives. A leader's confidence grows when they allow their core values to guide them.

    4. Helps Us Form Deeper Relationships

    Our most meaningful connections will always happen when we display our true self. Trying to imitate someone else in our workplace will usually trip us up. I have coached young leaders who thought it was best to be just like their boss only to find out it was impossible to work that way. In order to cultivate deeper relationships using your true self:
  • Be open to sharing personal stories and challenges.
  • Ask colleagues about some of their greatest triumphs and trials.
  • Be empathetic when a team member needs your advice or help. Step in with support.
  • Let your boss know you are willing to take on all types of work in order to pull through for the team.
  • Have you ever been afraid to lead with your true self? What did you learn when you allowed your true self to lead?Related: 6 Advantages of Leading With Our Gifts