Let's Be Real...Leaders

Sometimes it’s really hard for individuals, especially for leaders to be real in who they truly are. To be real it takes courage, strength, a strong self will, and the ability to face adversity, no matter how much the temptation tells us otherwise.
As a leader there will be days that your people will try to manipulate you to maybe, bend the rules or even possibly break them, to get what they want in the moment. There will be tension when people who follow you don’t get what they want, by the way, the might even leave you, but thats okay.
For a long time, early in my leadership years, I wanted to be liked, and there were times when character came into question. However what I have found is that if I can just “BE ME”, and stand for what is right, based on my personal values, then in the end, the ones who follow, will see what real, “authentic” leaders are, and the lessons from that will be priceless.
There are thousands of people that make great impressions daily, but did you ever ask the questions on, why they say what they say? or what is the reason for the actions the show? One story that comes to mind is from Joshua in the Bible. You see, he followed a strong leader, Moses, who was filled with doubt, fear, and question; however, he followed what he believed was right, and was given an opportunity to lead a massive amount of people once Moses was no longer with them. Appointed, he was given these words of encouragement, “No one will be able to stand against you” and the following “Be” statements
  1. Be strong and courageous because you will lead people to….
  2. Be strong and courageous be careful to obey the law…
  3. Be strong and courageous do not be afraid; do not be discouraged…
These 3 “be’s” have helped me grow, and lead me to become a better leader, who is no longer seeking approval, no longer worried about what others think, and helped me become the “REAL” me, and lead me to a greater understanding. 
Along with the “Be’s” here are some more tip I have learned to help as one developed into a real authentic leader. These characteristics have helped me mature with a more inclusive approach to leadership.
  • Be Self-aware: Reflect on my actions and decisions, while identifying my own strengths and weaknesses without any bias. Work on overcoming fears and use personal strengths to the maximum.
  • Lead with heart: Dig deep and lead the team with a courage and empathy. Care about your people.
  • Focus long-term: Don’t worry about temporary setbacks. Patience and hard work take time but yield great results
  • Integrity: Don’t say things you don’t mean. You will earn respect, and build trust them because they keep their word, no matter what it takes.
  • Vision and Purpose: Lead with purpose and vision. Find a personal mission statement, Add value to people and help them realize goals which could lead to better personal lives as well. Set the bar, and raise the bar.
  • Listening, Listen, Listen: Be a good listener, even if you don’t agree. Be willing to consider ideas with an open mind.
  • Transparency is Key: Open communication and directness with empathy, more often than not brings success. Don’t hide mistakes and weaknesses, and have the courage to actually be who they really are.
  • Consistency: Do not be fickle and stick to principles. Do not be swayed by superficialities.
  • Share success: Build a good team and give credit where it is due. Share success and achievements with everyone on the team.
  • Use personal experience: Use the lessons learned, good, bad, and ugly, because this is the best life teacher. Leadership skills slowly evolved from real-world experiences and life stories.
To be a “Real” authentic leader, I have found that if you are just YOU, then the people who follow you will become loyal in there actions, more often than, if you are just putting on a facade for the moment, because eventually that fake will fall off the and the truth will show through.