Authentic Leadership

Last Friday I had the great opportunity to attend Leadercast, a one day leadership conference hosted by the Kamloops Chamber of Commerce. As always with a slate of speakers there were the “ok” the “good” and the “great!”
 
Its always interesting to see who from our community attends these types of sessions, and to dig into why they dedicate the day to learning. Most often, its because we have a cadre of leaders in Kamloops who are into being the best they can be; strong, positive and conscientious leaders who think about the long term impacts of our actions on our community. 
 
The most significant impact for me this year came from Speaker Carla Harris. As an investment banker, she spoke about the importance of building deeper relationships in order to build impact from your opportunities. What she says is the most impactful thing people learn from her (“they lean in to the conversation”) is when she tells them she is Gospel singer who has albums and a sold out Carnegy Hall concert under her belt. She deftly wove an understanding that its the “Who we are” that is the connection point for authentic leaders.
 
She went on to discuss a few key points I wanted to share, regarding being a great leader and leading powerful teams. The primary area she focused on was Embracing:
 
Authenticity. Being real to who you are, what you believe and clear that you are a whole person, flaws, victories and all.
 
Collaboration. Being of a mind that the more voices you hear from your team, the greater the outcomes will be when you are open to hearing the ideas and opinions and considering them.
 
Conflict. Productive conflict is about gathering the dissenting opinions and voices and weighing what they say, what it means to your ideas and projects and incorporating lessons to improve your outcomes.
 
Differences. The understanding that all members of the team have different life experiences, different education, different lessons. Creating a better whole by building on that to add in a mix of female, male, cultures, beliefs and truly see the opportunity to connect the world outside your corporate walls.
 
Encouragement. To understand that we all need to be motivated, and that motivation is unique to each of us. More so, that this encouragement extends in empowerment, allowing our team members to take on decisions, make mistakes, to grow and learn through their actions and our mentorship of how to create more powerful outcomes. 
 
She went on to talk about something that I think we sometimes loose sight of in the melee of execution; that we must all be “Intentional in our leadership.” We must think actively about what we portray, what we do, and the character others perceive in us, as a result. 
 
She attributes the achievement of intentional-ity to being the following:
1)    Focused on Authenticity
2)    Builders of Trust
3)    Creators of Clarity
4)    Creators of emerging leaders (mentors, teachers)
5)    Embracers of Diversity
6)    Champions of innovation (thinking, doing, learning)
 
Finally, she affirmed the importance of doing the work to really understand that you are the culmination of the paths you have taken, the experiences you have had, and the qualities you are seeking to live and impart.
 
All of this factors create the real you; the authentic self.
 
I can see how keeping all of this active in the front of mind, could be daunting. However, I also believe that Leadership is a process, it is about creating, testing, failing, succeeding, learning and growing. So, don’t worry if its not all happening today, just keep on leading and trying and sooner or later, you’ll realize your powerful self, and find yourself leading an amazing team.