MY HOT TAKE: Authentic leadership is no longer a choice, it’s essential.

In today’s increasingly virtual working environment, harnessing the power of authentic leadership to drive businesses forward is no longer a ‘nice to have’, it’s essential for businesses wishing to survive in the current economic, political and social climate.

Research in the fields of social psychology and emotional intelligence from experts such as Brene Brown or Mike Robbins, has proven that being real, honest, and even vulnerable, are core to individual and group business relationship success.

The more virtual our lives become, whether due to Covid-19 or the evolution of the digital age, the more we hunger for something genuine in our daily interactions – both in business and at home.

Far from being a trend, or a passing phase, authenticity is now a key component of success in relationships. Interactions based on truth, respect and mutual trust are vital for effective teamwork with colleagues and clients. The benefits are reflected back many times over in our daily interactions and, over time, this results in richer connections in every aspect of business life, encouraging better communication and more meaningful dialogue. In short, authenticity keeps you and your business grounded and brings your core values to life.

There should be no doubt that how we feel at work has a direct relationship to how we perform – both at an individual and team level. Authentic leadership should be used to build a secure foundation from which we are able to have both the nurturing discussions and the challenging conversations which ensure alignment to our business goals.

For our customers, authenticity allows us to cut straight to the heart of the issues they are facing at this moment. It allows us to offer the support or service which will provide them with the greatest value.

For our teams, in an environment where employees feel trusted, secure and valued as individuals, their morale is higher and their contributions more likely to be creative and wholehearted, with less fear of failure – a recipe which has also proven to lend itself to business success.

The message, therefore, is clear. Drop the corporate act in your business. Encourage your teams to operate with transparency, wholeheartedness and openness at their core, and ensure you lead by example. Give more of your true self to your teams and to your important business relationships. You’ll soon find that whatever you can give of yourself, others will give back to you and your business relationships will add value to your working day, as well as your bottom line.