The Secret Guide to Authentic Leadership - Secret Ten, Eleven, Twelve and Thirteen


The Secret Guide to Authentic Leadership - Secret Ten, Eleven, Twelve and Thirteen



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Effective leadership is a multifaceted endeavor that requires a blend of transparency, accountability, openness to feedback, and humility. These elements are crucial for building trust and credibility and fostering a culture of continuous improvement and collaboration within an organization. The following insights delve into key leadership secrets that can help cultivate a thriving, motivated, and high-performing team.


Secret #1: Finding Your Inner Voice
Secret #2: Your Legacy
Secret #3: Stand Up and Speak Out
Secret #4: Leadership and Management
Secret #5: Don’t Imitate Others
Secret #6: Lead From Within
Secret #7: Servant Leader
Secret #8 – Being Genuine
Secret #9 – Express Your Leadership as a Person

Secret #10 – Admit When You’re Wrong

Admitting when you're wrong is crucial for building trust because doing so demonstrates transparency and honesty. Acknowledging your errors shows you are accountable and take responsibility for your actions. It also fosters a culture where learning and growth are valued. It encourages others to do the same and promotes a mindset of continuous improvement.

I’ve also found that admitting when you’re wrong demonstrates you are human, making you more relatable and maintaining credibility and respect from team members. It shows you are not perfect and that you value the input and perspective of others.

Overall, admitting when you're wrong is a sign of strength, humility, and self-awareness. It's an essential aspect of authentic leadership that fosters trust, learning, and growth within teams and organizations.

Note: If you should apologize, apologize. Caution for females: we tend to overdo apologizing. From experience, I’ve learned to hold back a minute to evaluate if the circumstance warrants an apology. I take some of my cues from my male counterparts. I tend to use the word “apology” rather than “I’m sorry.”

Secret #11 – Hold Yourself and Employees Accountable

Holding yourself, employees and others you work with accountable is imperative. It means ensuring that everyone involved takes responsibility for their actions, decisions, and performance. In order to do this effectively, clear expectations need to be set, and resources and support need to be provided. Part of those resources and support is regularly providing constructive feedback on performance and providing the necessary training for employees to provide feedback to you and their colleagues. While it is important to be supportive, there should also be consequences for consistently failing to meet expectations. I strive to address issues promptly and directly. This is a science and an art. Leaders need to practice doing this effectively and with respect, keeping it individualized for the person they are speaking with.

I provide those employees I work for the license to say to me, “You said if I saw you doing this, I was supposed to tell you.” In other words, don’t shoot the messenger. I encourage a mindset of continuous improvement even when goals are met. Everyone should be committed to getting better over time. If you keep raising the bar, employees will keep rising to the occasion.

Overall, holding yourself and employees accountable is essential for fostering a culture of responsibility, integrity, and excellence within the organization. It not only contributes to the achievement of organizational goals but also strengthens trust, collaboration, and individual growth.

Secret #12 – Truly Be Open To Feedback

To me, truly being open to feedback means being open to critique and criticism. It means being willing to receive, consider, and act upon feedback from various sources, including employees, peers, and stakeholders. I have always told the teams in my care, “You can tell me anything just do it similar to the way you would want me to tell you.” I remind them that I'm human, with feelings. I want to do better, so I ask them to choose words that won't crush my spirit but rather help me want to do better. I always have at least one employee who keeps my ego in check. The one I’m thinking about right now is the person I think of when I make decisions. In my head, I ask myself, “What will Lily think about this action?”

Being open to feedback requires vulnerability, as it involves acknowledging your limitations and improvement areas. Embrace vulnerability as a strength rather than a weakness, and be willing to share your own struggles and challenges with others.

Remember to express gratitude to those who provide feedback, regardless of whether it is positive or negative. Let them know their input is valued, and you are committed to using it to make positive changes. Creating a safe environment where people feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and opinions openly, without fear of judgment or reprisal, is key to authentic leadership.

Being truly open to feedback as a leader requires humility, empathy, and a genuine commitment to continuous learning. It involves creating a culture where feedback is valued, encouraged, and acted upon to drive positive change and growth. Ultimately, being open to feedback contributes to organizational success by fostering a culture of continuous improvement, innovation, and collaboration. Leaders who are open to feedback are better equipped to adapt to changing circumstances, overcome challenges, and achieve their goals.

Secret #13 – Take the Heat; Give the Credit

My philosophy is to take the heat for your group when things go wrong but always give credit to your group when they succeed. I always clap hard for others.

An authentic leader protects the morale of the team. Taking the heat shields team members from undue criticism and preserves their confidence in their leader and in the team as a whole. It also encourages risk-taking, innovation, learning, and growth. Mistakes are valuable learning opportunities where the leader can set the stage for reflection, learning, and continuous improvement. This helps the team grow stronger and more resilient over time.

The result of me taking the heat has inspired loyalty and dedication. When a leader gives credit to others for success, it shows appreciation and recognition for their contributions. This also inspires loyalty and dedication among team members, who feel valued and motivated to continue giving their best effort.

It’s almost a given that taking the heat and giving credit fosters positive relationships within the team and with external stakeholders. It creates a supportive and collaborative atmosphere where everyone feels valued and respected.

Ultimately, taking the heat and giving credit contributes to improved performance and results. It fosters a culture of trust, accountability, and teamwork that enables the team to overcome challenges, seize opportunities, and achieve success together.

To Wrap Things Up!

Embracing these leadership secrets—admitting when you’re wrong, holding yourself and others accountable, being open to feedback, and taking the heat while giving credit—can significantly impact your effectiveness as a leader and demonstrates your authenticity. These principles not only build a strong foundation of trust and respect but also create an environment where continuous improvement and collective success are prioritized. By incorporating these strategies, leaders can inspire their teams to achieve excellence and drive sustainable growth within their organizations.

Photo by 愚木混株 cdd20 on Unsplash