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Leading with integrity: discovering your authentic leadership style

Updated: Jan 16

There are many things in life that you do because you’re expected to, not because they’re meaningful to you. Some of those things are essentially required of you as a functional member of society, like paying taxes and taking out the trash, so I can't promise this is going to get you out of doing any chores. However, some of those things are less required than you may think and as a result, you probably spend a lot of time essentially sleep-walking through life, acting and speaking out of habit, without real intent and thoughtfulness, and without aligning your words and actions to your core values. You can feel the difference when something is meaningful, because it recharges and fulfills you instead of exhausting you.

an image of a Black person laying on a bed of leaves with their hands covering their eyes and the text "You can feel the difference when something is meaningful, because it recharges and fulfills you instead of exhausting you."

In The Way of Integrity, Martha Beck talks about this concept, labeling it integrity and noting that many of the negative emotions you experience in life are a result of a fundamental misalignment between your personal values and your broader actions. This schism begins from the moment you are born, with subtle and overt pressures to conform to cultural expectations, creating internal division that shifts your state of being from integrity (one thing) to duplicity (two things), or even multiplicity (multiple things). The way of integrity starts with curiosity and openness, kindness to yourself, and a commitment to paying attention to how things make you feel.

Leading with integrity isn't about moral high ground, it's about being honest and authentic with your deepest self. Whether you're in a formal leadership role or leading as an individual contributor, finding your authentic leadership style is how you can connect your personal values to the actions and impact you want to make. Here are some tips to begin that journey if you’re just getting started, or to reflect on if you’re already on your leadership path.

Tip #1 - Self-Reflection is your compass:

Your leadership journey starts with self-reflection. What are your values? What drives you? Dive deep into your core beliefs. Your authentic style stems from aligning your leadership with your true self. Authentic leaders are genuine, flaws and all. Embrace your imperfections; they make you relatable. Authenticity builds trust and rapport, creating a more profound connection with your team.

“If you don't walk your true path, you don't find your true people. You end up in places you don't like, learning skills that don't fulfill you, adopting values and customs that feel wrong.” ― Martha Beck, The Way of Integrity: Finding the Path to Your True Self

Tip #2 - Embrace your unique strengths:

Your strengths are your superpowers! Identify them and leverage them in your leadership. Whether you excel in strategic thinking, empathy, or innovation, these strengths form the foundation of your authentic style. Remember that self-reflection you just did in identifying your values? Well, they’re your North Star. Let them guide your decisions. When faced with dilemmas, align choices with your values. This consistency builds integrity and reinforces your authentic leadership.

Tip #3 - ExperimentAND ITERATE:

Leadership is a journey of continuous learning. Stay curious, explore new perspectives, and be open to evolving. Don't be afraid to experiment with different approaches. Actively ask for and be open to feedback and iterate on your methods. The more you learn, the more refined and authentic your leadership style becomes. Celebrate your growth and achievements along the way. Acknowledge the milestones, learn from the challenges, and appreciate the unique leader you are becoming. Your leadership journey is as important as the destination.

Remember, your authentic leadership style is a reflection of your true self.

Embrace it, nurture it, and let it shine! Share your thoughts and questions below to continue the conversation. Reach out today and get information on exploratory leadership coaching sessions to help you on your journey to becoming an authentic leader aligning your core values to your actions in ways that are meaningful to you and impactful to others.

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