Once you are living an authentic version of yourself you can truly lean into healthy strong relationships. Care for others takes over and there is no longer any deep work on yourself needed. As you thrive in your own self, power and strength now comes in building camaraderie, using your skills to build up others, and doting on the relationships that you do have so that you can continue to nurture them.
How do you do nurture the relationships? Keep leaning into communicating with those you care about in your personal life and work world, develop time to spend together and no longer limit that time to create distance, and express your appreciation for the other person as that builds up deeper partnerships. Holding back from spending time with others due to busyness or constant work does not deepen relationships but keeps you at a distance. Make sure you make the effort and secure communications in a way that appreciates the other's strengths vs. focusing on their weaknesses.
Do you ever feel like a phony? That you have been successful because of luck or fraud but not because of your talent? This is a common phenomenon called Imposter Syndrome. It was coined in 1978 by two psychologists and originally considered a bane of women. In 1993, however, this was debunked and is now considered to affect both genders equally. It often exists because we see other people's actions/exterior, but only know our own interior.
So how do we get over this lack of self-confidence?
Once you are truly centered within (e.g. - self-confident, understanding of your strengths and weaknesses, and open to change) and are voicing that true self to others, then you are wisely leading from an authentic place. Authenticity takes a lot of inner work - resolve to know who you are, willingness to receive feedback and adjust how you are showing up in order to create healthy relationships, and letting others be who they are as well (e.g. - accepting who they are for their strengths and weaknesses too). It is not just opening up and showing who you are but in unhealthy, toxic or un-nice ways.
As an authentic leader we show strength, knowledge, and integrity. As an authentic leader we are honest to who we are but we also show empathy and concern for the welfare of others. Authenticity is not just sticking to our bad behaviors, but being willing to look at ourselves when things are not working well (e.g. - getting bad feedback from others) and learning how to adjust and be better. As we often say about leadership - "be yourself, but with more skill."
How can you show up more authentically at work? What areas do you need to get some feedback on and adjust in order to be even a better version of yourself? How can you make those adjustments?
In life and in leadership partnership is truly dedicating yourself to the development and growth of the other just as much as your own growth and development. It is caring about the other just as much as you care about yourself. It is being able to depend on that person to support you in your ups and downs and providing that same level of support. In all of this it is developing an awareness of the other with the intent of supporting and appreciating them enough to want to partner with them but then also applying emotional intelligence skills to create a healthy partnership. This includes good communication, developing a sense of support, respect, appreciation, and trust.
At the root of all partnership is trust and that requires opening up to being your true self, voicing what it is most important to you, not arguing over the little things, and creating an environment where it is safe for the other to voice what is true for them, disagree with your opinions and/or thoughts, and truly feel like they can be supported by you. As a leader it is imperative to have these skills so that others will want to be influenced by you, follow you when you have a vision, and truly feel safe to be their authentic self. In the end if they feel like this they will want to follow you to the ends of the earth as it feels good to be around you and they are moving towards the vision that they feel also fits their needs, dreams, and skills as well.
As leaders pick the right people to partner with (e.g. - with similar goals, values, ideas, and vision) but also enhance your emotional intelligence skills so that when you find those partners you can truly work with them to develop a healthy way of interacting so that it is safe and nurturing for the both of you. How are you interacting in your partnerships? Is there anything you need to tweak to make them better?
Leadership as a Dance
When you are true to who you are and being truly authentic life and leadership become like a dance. It is a give and a take, a balance of what you need and want vs. the needs and wants of others. When you dance (especially a partner dance like ballroom or salsa) the interaction between two people must be deliberate and sanctioned (e.g. - both people want to be dancing together) and must flow together (e.g. - allow for the back and forth, give and take, and compromise of healthy partnerships). As a leader having a vision and using your voice to ask for other's support or backing is just one part of the equation. The leader must also ask for input, deliberately involve others in making for a greater unity of parts vs. solely going at it alone. For really good leadership to happen the leader and the "follower(s)" must truly be in it together and the wisdom of the duo truly makes the leader wiser and the follower want to be involved.
Leadership is not a forcing or a vision but not having the influence and/or "voice" (e.g. - power of persuasion and/or influence) to have others want to follow you, it is truly wisely dedicating yourself to a cause you believe in working in tandem with others who truly get it and want to pursue that same cause. Sometimes they might be the indicating the right path but mainly they are working with you so that you can go much farther (and have a much more enjoyable time than going it alone).
If you are leader learn to dance. Be willing to go with the flow sometimes. Allow the togetherness to grow you not only but truly entice you to want to bring others along to your vision and not force it on them. Deliberately work to partner with others and the nature of leadership enhances not just you but them too.
Monica Thakrar has over 18 years experience in business focused mainly on strategy, change management, leadership development, training and coaching resulting in successful implementations of large scale transformation programs.