Authenticity is today’s buzzword. And like most buzzwords, although it can make sense in many contexts, it is now overused, inappropriately applied, and often plain wrong.
Everyone tells leaders to “be authentic”. But what if you’re a prize arsehole? A sociopath? A bigot? A despot? Will you still take the advice of every coach out there and be authentic? Good luck with retaining a team and creating anything but a toxic culture.
What are your options?
Well, you could fake it. Doable, but hard to pull off, especially for the long term.
Or you could change. Also possible (and laudable, and probably worthwhile), but hard to do especially if you’re the one in charge.
In my view, your best bets are as follows:
Be really bloody good at what you do. So good that it makes up for the parts of your authentic self that people don’t want to work for.
Or, partner up with another leader who gets people, and critically, who won’t be pissed off by you. Then make sure you manage absolutely NO ONE!
So let’s stop with the meaningless overuse of “authentic”. We are all a cocktail of many things – some great, some less so. Be authentic with the parts of you that help make a positive difference, and find another answer for the bits of you that aren’t.