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How to Be Authentic as a Leader

How to Be Authentic as a Leader

How to Be Authentic as a Leader

Everyone has dreams, aspirations and ambitions. Although these differ from person to person, there comes a time in every person’s life when we begin to expect for our aspirations to become reality.

Sometimes our aspirations are truly ours, and other times they are driven by the desire to be liked, even adored by our friends and family.

What happens when you get where you thought you wanted to be, only to discover you’re at the wrong place?

What happens when you have had to compromise what you stand for and the very essence of your being to do something in order to succeed, that you would not normally do?

When these situations arise, you have only two choices: Keep living a lie or be true to yourself and tap into your authenticity as a leader.

Is Authenticity a Leadership Skill?

There are several ways in which you can develop authenticity for yourself and those around you.

The main goal isn’t to act authentic; it is to be authentic. There is a difference. We are not talking about a skill you turn on and off at will to meet your needs.

“Authenticity is a way of life. It is a life skill that you switch on the moment you decide to always embrace truth.”

Here are multiple ways in which you might go about developing the life skill of authenticity:

Become Self-aware

This might sound easier than it is. Self-awareness is not something that you can just be. It is something that has to be cultivated through strict introspection and loads of practice.

It requires complete self-accountability for every aspect of your life. You cannot fully achieve self-awareness if you still blame others for the results in your life.

This is because part of the practice of self-awareness is asking yourself, when someone rubs you the wrong way and upsets you, “what I am supposed to learn about myself now that I’ve been triggered?”

Often, leaders fail to realize the potential that self-awareness can have on their confidence and their ability to make a long-lasting impact on the world. This ends up causing them to lack authenticity skills in general.

These leaders may not necessarily know the process by which they should become self-aware, but they do know that the resource investment that is required to become self-aware is definitely worth it.

Personal Values

When you, as a leader, understand yourself well, you open the door to truly understanding others. Reflecting and introspecting on your own weaknesses and strengths allows you to be more compassionate towards others.

Asking yourself some basic questions can help you raise your self-awareness and understand the terms by which you lead your life.

What do you stand for? What is it about you that represents who you are at your core?

Your personal values are the terms of your life. Think of them as your personal life term-sheet. Everything you do is an investment in your personal growth.

An investor would not give you money without a term sheet outlining the expectations for their investment. Similarly knowing your values will determine what you should expect from yourself.

“Your values determine the terms that dictate how you live your life and how you show up as a leader.”

This technique also encourages a leader in every field to drive their passions beyond their limits and achieve personal as well as organizational success.

Balance Extrinsic and Intrinsic Motivations

The values that a leader possesses helps them gain insight into the kind of motivations that drive them, both extrinsic and intrinsic.

The common way to measure the level of overall determination and motivation that a leader or an organization has, is to measure it extrinsically.

Extrinsic motivations are based on rewards like money, titles, recognition, and fame.

Intrinsic motivation is driven by internal rewards. The motivation arises from within the individual because it is naturally satisfying.

However, the balance between these external and internal motivations has to be maintained and stabilized by you as the leader.

The balance between these motivations, both extrinsic and intrinsic is one of the keys to ensuring authenticity as a leadership skill for yourself.

Develop Your Support Team

Leaders do not have the means to succeed on their own. If you plan to be a successful leader, there are multiple things that you cannot do without the support of your peers or mentors and coaches.

To be successful as an authentic leader, you have to ensure that you create a support team for yourself. This team will help you by providing you with valuable feedback and a balanced perspective in terms of things that you view with a bias.

The support group will also help you focus on the correction of certain traits that you might be blind to and make sure that your ego isn’t running your life.

Know Your Limits

True leadership is the product of perseverance. If you are a leader within your organization, you must make sure that you maintain consistency and balance in almost all sectors of your responsibilities.

Leaders should also have the ability to integrate different areas of their life and turn the skill of authenticity into a reality.

The biggest challenge in this regard for the leader is to maintain a strong and stable personal life, one that is personal, but not too personal.

“An authenticity focused leader accepts they are not going to do everything right and embraces humility as the best teacher.”

Discovering your authenticity as a leader will not only require a lot of practice and effort, but also a lot of courage on your part.

You have to reflect deeply on your experiences, own your personal story, understand yourself well, and be humble enough to grow.

If you have trouble accepting yourself for the way you are and with the values that you have, ensure that you develop a deep understanding for the people around you.

Valuing your team will bring you a lot of benefits as a leader and will mean the world for the people you are vulnerably asking to be part of your tribe.

Being an authenticity focused leader is about embracing relationships and being open to your own flaws while striving passionately to live your personal values.

For more information on how to be more authentically yourself by breaking free of the command-and-control norms check out the Radical Purpose movement by clicking here.

Business Innovation Brief
How a Culture of Warmth Enables Innovation

How a Culture of Warmth Enables Innovation

How a Culture of Warmth Enables Innovation

Creativity and the innovative problem-solving abilities of employees should be fostered from the inside. While manifesting ideas require a lot of structure and a high degree of adherence to deadlines, a truly innovative organization provides its employee enough room to make strides in areas that have yet to be explored.

Warmth enables the emergence of novel and new ideas in the workplace to become commonplace, making the entire process of working more productive and efficient.

More rigid organizations whose primary motive and long-term goal is to avoid as much risk as possible in their respective markets stifle employees by not tolerating any novel approaches. They tend to stick to the basics and the standard procedures of doing things (AKA best practices) preferring old school methods with the lowest risk.

Build A Positive Culture

To create a work culture that is both comfortable and challenging, where every member feels free enough to express new ideas and unique approaches to new problems, is challenging. 

The challenges are big, and you will need a lot of positive actions across the leadership and among employees. In the end of it all, however, research maintains that the main elements that you should maintain in an organization are the following:

● Warmth in the organization in its daily working

● A long-term future solution and vision that employees and the leadership can voluntarily get behind

● A greater tolerance for failures or ambiguity in goals and assigned tasks

As a member of the organization you belong to (does not matter whether you are a leader or an employee), you must be the one who takes up the responsibility to influence the organization’s culture in a positive way.

“Every person in the organization is equally responsible for enabling a positive culture.”

Warmth Promotes Innovative Thinking

The temperature of the workplace cannot be measured by scientific instruments. It can only be measured in terms of how supportive and approachable employees feel towards each other during the course of the work week.

The amiability of employees in their interactions with each other gives the feeling of whether the organization is cold or warm. A cold workplace is the one where employees are highly serious and competitive, even sometimes withdrawn from others around them.

Although cold organizations can be very productive, organized, formal and efficient, they are not places where creativity can bloom, and new ideas do not find their place for active implementation.

The warm temperature of an organization is where employees can foster collaborations and creativity without fear of rejection or ridicule.

“Fostering a warm temperature in the workplace comes with a lot of inherent advantages.”

These warm institutions often incorporate a lot of social interactions between employees. Employees might feel that the administration or their direct superiors or supervisors are on their side and want them to succeed in life and in the workplace.

“Warm organizations care about people’s success across every aspect of their lives, not just at work.”

Warm organizations also have a relationship factor to them as they are breeding grounds for professional work relationships that are often mutually beneficial. Conversation, play and energy are some of the main characteristics of such a warm organization. 

In a warm climate, employees and members of the leadership team feel free to discuss emotions, personal details and challenging ideas, along with unique solutions to problems without fear of judgement or rejection.

While a warm environment for a workplace is incredibly essential to foster innovation, it is also important to make sure that the work environment does not degrade to a completely informal space. Some professionalism is always going to be needed to maintain civility and order.

That being said, a warm environment is a breeding ground for innovative thinking and novel ideas. Most organizations do not foster this kind of creativity in their everyday workings. 

The warmth in the environment of any organization can be significantly improved by practicing the following on a regular basis:

● Reading up on how to make polite conversation with co-workers, listening skills and making sure that you apply them in your real life

● Allowing yourself to be emotionally expressive if needed

● Promotion of organizational warmth by designating communal spaces where employees can unwind, socialize and relax with their co workers

● Promotion of freedom to be yourself and deliver on the expected value on your own terms 

Co-Creation

A key to creating a warm culture is shifting from command-and-control hierarchy to shared authority, whereas the goal is co-creation. 

“Co-creation is rooted in a humans first mindset.”

Co-creation allows employees to experience the need to make an impact on their own terms and experience the fulfillment of being able to do so.

Co-creation allows for authentic and more intimate working relationships among employees. This helps to stimulate positive interactions among all employees, co-creating a more positive workplace.

“A positive and warm workplace enables new ideas to flourish and encourages collaboration, leading to a stronger unified company.”

For more information on how to expand on the principles of co-creation and co-ownership at work, check out the Radical Purpose movement by clicking here.

Business Innovation Brief

Autonomy and Ownership Enable Engaged Employees

Autonomy and Ownership Enable Engaged Employees

Autonomy and Ownership Enable Engaged Employees

Employees who are disengaged cause losses to companies in the long run. The cumulative revenue impact across companies can add up to $500 billion every single year.

As a result of loss of efficiency, companies around the world are actively searching ways to create cultures that are less toxic, more productive and more efficient.

However, most company cultures often create a paradigm that encourages micromanagement activities with employees, which causes further disgruntled employees. 

In the long run, instead of having a positive impact on the work culture, it leads to negative and often degrading impact on people.

Company cultures focused on creating an environment of autonomy, greatly help employees become more engaged with the work they are doing and take it upon themselves to be accountable for it.

The more autonomy employees have, the more devoted towards work they become. With autonomy you also experience reduced relational barriers between people.

Studies show that more autonomous company structures translate into the best financial performance.

“When people have more choices to shape their working environment, they are happier, more committed, engaged in their jobs, more productive and most loyal to the organization.”

Ownership

Creating a culture of autonomy in the workplace gives employees the freedom to determine their own ways to make sure they reach company goals. This is done, however, with established boundaries. 

To implement this in your workplace, you will need a clear vision employees can get behind and mass alignment on core values. These components, if taken care of well, will help your people gain a sense of belonging and a sense of pride, which in turn helps them become more efficient and productive.

Employees want autonomy more than anything to be productive and efficient in the work that they do. However, secretly, they also want to be responsible and accountable for their actions. 

This might not make much sense now. However, when you start to realize that accountability gives you a reason to measure success, all the pieces fall into place automatically.

“Accountability from the top down is design for controls, while bottom-up ownership fosters self-accountability.”

While autonomy gives employees complete freedom to own their work and be completely proud of it, ownership holds them responsible for the results that the work has brought to the company and the goals that they are all trying to achieve.

There are two kinds of accountability: clear accountability and meaningful accountability. For coherence, there has to be an equal share of both kinds of accountability with employees.

While clear accountability entails the communication of expectations, this means that the employees know exactly what is expected of them.

Meaningful accountability has a specific plan in place to make sure success is achieved, but it’s mostly driven by a sense of ownership that can only be accomplished with autonomy.

Balancing Autonomy and Accountability

The goal is to make sure that everyone has the liberty to stay on track to achieve the intended success agreed upon.

The key to creating autonomy at work is to give lots of choices with clear expectations and mutually agreed goals and timelines.

Without mutual agreements among the people involved, you can end up with lack of coordination, irregularities and in severe cases, anarchy.

“A strong system to hold each other accountable, is essential for autonomy to flourish.”

This kind of accountability and autonomy balance in the workplace makes employees more efficient and productive at the same time. Not only do they have the freedom to work on their own terms and in their own ways, but they also make sure that the work is done with relation to the vision of the company and in support of the long-term goals that it is trying to pursue.

Balance is the key to producing a work culture that is not only efficient, but also creates results that are appreciated and work towards the company’s vision. 

Although putting such a thing into place might seem difficult at first, there are a lot of advantages that come when it is finally done right.

Allocating autonomy to employees creates a sense of implied responsibility. This sense of responsibility brings out the most creative side of people.

“More autonomy results in increased productivity due to the sense of ownership it creates.”

Companies who make an effort to create an autonomous work environment, are most likely to end up with more devoted and loyal employees who will be most concerned about the success of the business.

For more information on how to expand on the principles of more autonomy and ownership at work, check out the Radical Purpose movement by clicking here.

Business Innovation Brief

How to Create Trust by Setting People Free

How to Create Trust by Setting People Free

How to Create Trust by Setting People Free

While several nations are celebrating their independence from foreign rule every year, the same cannot be said for the superimposition of various factors on people in workplaces.

Employees also deserve freedom and independence from the command-and-control structures that are still very pervasive in corporate culture today. Here are some of the questions that need to be addressed to maintain freedom in order to build more trust in corporate cultures.

● Does the workplace allow employees to process and share feedback that relate to performance across all levels of the organization?

● Does the workplace sufficiently allow employees to become confident in themselves and empowered?

● Does the workplace facilitate the articulation of varied opinions of employees amongst each other and with leadership?

Ensuring Freedom

For an employee, there are many ways (including the ones stated above) by which freedom can be ensured. Some of the ways mentioned above are to ensure a positive impact on the organization’s culture and the employee’s well-being. However, the others are to ensure that the elements of freedom relate to the individual freedom of the people and may or may not be relevant to the organization they work for.

Leaders need to realize that freedom is a powerful tool that should be ensured and emphasized in an organization. For example, employees need to be given the freedom to solve problems on their own, using thought patterns that belong to no one else but themselves.

In this way, workplaces can appreciate their way of bringing an innovative solution to the table and tackle issues in innovative ways. The more innovative ways that come to the table, the better future we can ensure.

“Diversity of thought in the workplace is extremely important to enhance trust among people.”

Freedom at work has become a business imperative with a multigenerational workforce. The importance that employees place on their freedom in the workplace is paramount and has become one of the first requirements as a way of ensuring their personal liberty.

Organizations have now started to realize this and have resolved that curtailing this innovative freedom is hardly the solution. Hence, the creation of a framework that identifies and recognizes freedom with its boundaries, limitations and restrictions is a challenging yet essential task.

Top organizations like Google and Facebook are known for the kind of freedom they impart to their employees. This autonomy helps their employees foster a sense of value and happiness in the work environment, making them feel important in the organization and comfortable with the role they play.

“It is very important to give employees the freedom at work, the freedom they deserve.”

This also means that although the provision of freedom is important, the guidance to the usage of freedom is also equally important. Companies need to play an important role in defining whether the freedom at work entails everything they think it does.

The behaviours that entail this freedom in the workplace need to be clearly and objectively defined so that all parties, the employees and leadership, benefit from them. This is also a sure-fire way of preventing freedom conflicts and keeping productivity at its peak.

“Freedom comes with responsibility and bilateral cooperation across the organization.”

Just like there is a freedom of expression in our country, freedom of expression should also be implemented in the workplace. However, just like restrictions are implemented on fundamental rights in order to protect from force and violence, the freedom to expression in the workplace should also be curtailed to an extent.

Employees should be taught to express what they feel but within the set of rules defined for this expression. Those rules need not be a top-down effort, rather they are bilaterally agreed upon by the team members involved with each other.

However, employees cannot exercise unrestrained freedom of speech with respect to the company’s financial and internal data or the details of clients that the company deals with.

Social media has made everyone less wary about the information, judgements and biases they possess. With the advent of such platforms, employees tend to be less wary with the kind of information they disseminate in public. This freedom can lead to challenges and might hinder progress in the long as well as the short run.

Freedom = Happiness

It is essential to understand that the demand for freedom in the workplace is not a trend that will fade away with time. It is an ongoing process of employee rights that needs to be fostered in a healthy and nurturing way.

The earliest American definition of freedom, stated frequently by the Founding Fathers, is about constraints on personal actions “if I don’t hurt anybody else, I should be free to pursue my own will.”

Understanding freedom is not a small matter. Several studies have shown that freedom causes happiness.

“Freedom and happiness are highly correlated.”

As people we have certain universal needs. We need to be treated as equals. We need opportunity for personal growth, and we want to lead a self-sufficient life. Each of these needs are not being met in command-and-control hierarchies.

The most important benefit of freeing an organization is that it gives people access to these basic yet most essential needs.

Psychologically, when people’s need are being met at the most fundamental level, there is an almost immediate bond of trust created and that trust combined with freedom is what makes some companies unstoppable.

For more information on how to expand on the principles of freedom at work, check out the Radical Purpose movement by clicking here.

Business Innovation Brief

How to Apply Innovation to Customer Success

How to Apply Innovation to Customer Success

How to Apply Innovation to Customer Success

A lot has changed in the customer service space in the past 20 years. Few businesses use to pay attention to the quality of their customer service. They spent more time and resources on things that could bring them revenue.

Businesses also didn’t pay much attention to the hassle customers had to go through to report a problem or get an inquiry resolved. Waiting for hours on end for representatives to answer customer queries was the normal.

There was no access to online chat with customer care, let alone any kind of self-service resolution capabilities. Some of you reading this may not even be aware of that reality, because you were born after the digital revolution started.

Today, with the availability of a range of options to most customers by means of the internet, poor customer service is one of the biggest concerns for big companies and enterprises.

Customers are demanding more and better service online and offline in exchange for their loyalty. That means that businesses in the 21st century have to step up their game if they want to stay competitive.

The customer service sector is no longer limited to telephone conversations and answering machines. Now, the customer service industry is focused on innovation. Modern ways and processes are being embraced. Even the term customer service has been replaced with customer success.

Everything Mobile

There is very good reason for the reduction in sales of computers around the world. That is because more and more people are using their mobile phones for shopping and to interact with businesses.

Customer success teams have to become more responsive and alert to the wants and needs and capabilities of consumers on their mobile phones who demand immediate access. Such on demand customer success capacities can be delivered via SMS, or DMs on social media platforms.

Chatbots Everywhere

Chatbots are the ultimate innovation in the field of customer success. When customers want more than just the “human touch”, they frequently look for options that might help them faster than humans can.

Chatbots are becoming a top kind of customer success technology that can greatly reduce the number of contacts human agents have to handle. This also ensures that more humans are freed up to deal with problems that are too complicated for simple chatbots.

According to research, more than 80% of the queries that customers have can be cleared up with the help of chatbots.

Social Media Everywhere

Social media has been used by businesses for marketing and sales for quite a long time. Now, we are fully in the next phase where companies are beginning to use channels for customer success purposes.

Customers have made social media the default way of interacting with their friends and family, along with work colleagues and others. It makes sense for businesses to join the social circle of customers to resolve their queries efficiently.

There are a number of agencies that provide customer success on social media. They can be employed to save capital and the hassle of looking for more reps.

Everything Better with Video

Video chats in the post-pandemic world are being used by everybody. Technologies like Skype, Zoom, and Duo have become a daily part of our lives.

Because customers have become more comfortable with interactions over video chat, businesses should endeavor to launch themselves into this space as well.

Video guidance for customers over video tends to have effects that cannot be attained over other mediums.

Video simulates the actual presence of humans for the convenience of the customers. As a result, video makes customers feel that they are cared for by the company and feel valued.

These innovations in customer success have become prevalent in recent times. More and more businesses are getting focused on improving their customer relations, often hiring dedicated personnel to handle that area for them.

Customer success is becoming so important that there are dedicated agencies popping up offering businesses a steady hand to deal with the queries and questions of customers.

This change is for the better. With the advent and rising popularity of online shopping and telephonic marketing, customers are becoming more aware about the kind of businesses they are interacting with. A few words of appreciation and prompt replies to their emails goes a long way in securing their loyalty.

Innovation in customer success takes on a more systematic approach to delighting customers. It breaks down internal barriers and encourages more transparency.

“Innovation in customer success is about letting the customer lead you into tomorrow.”

When it comes to customer success innovation it’s important to highlight that it isn’t about adopting a single strategy. Today’s consumer lives online across multiple mediums.

The companies who will outshine others in their efforts of enabling effective customer success strategies will meet the customers where they live and play.

This will require a shift in thinking from setting up capabilities to take in requests from customers, to setting up proactive outreach programs that anticipate needs.

With the advent of technologies such AI coupled with the mentioned tactics in this blog, there really are no excuses when it comes to developing and executing an effective customer success plan.

“Innovation is born out of people’s creativity coupled with technology that enhances connection and service standards.”

Companies who are balancing both people’s creativity and emerging technologies will win the race to delighting the customer.

Business Innovation Brief

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