Expert Marketer Magazine
Three Simple Questions Authentic Leaders Ask

by Henna Inam

Maria, an executive coaching client, was stuck. She had an employee that was underperforming and Maria was under some pressure from other departments to fire her. She had been putting off having a conversation with this employee for several months thinking that this person’s performance would turn around. It didn’t. Maria felt stuck because she thought the employee had some useful skills but clearly others felt otherwise. The pressure was mounting. What should Maria do? Follow her gut? Succumb to the pressure?

Most of us want to be more authentic and inspired in our leadership. However, in my executive coaching and speaking work, I often talk with leaders who find themselves stuck between what they want to do and what the organization demands. Leaders wonder whether being authentic in the workplace would be a career-limiting move.

In my book Wired for Authenticity I share three simple questions you can ask to be more authentic in your leadership. Here they are:

  • Who am I being right now?
  • What is happening around me?
  • Which parts of me will serve the greatest good in this moment?

Surprised? Yes, there are myths about what authenticity really is that cause us to wonder whether we can be authentic in workplaces. We often think authenticity is “this is who I am, this is what I want, take it or leave it”. This definition of authenticity no longer serves us because as leaders of our world we have to hold a tough paradox – our full and authentic self-expression that inspires us as well as our impact on others so we can be trusted leaders who serve the people and stakeholders we lead.

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