1. Their Motives are Pure. This is the most critical piece of being an authentic leader. It feels almost impossible to connect with clients in a culture of fake news and doctored up profiles. The most successful authentic leaders always lead from a place of service and have their client’s genuine interests at heart. A great book on this topic is Patrick Lencioni’s “The Motive.” The non-profit and church sector even struggle with this. It becomes too easy to compromise marketing strategies to attract and retain donors! Even some pastors start to abuse the pulpit to become social media influencers! Motives matter! I encourage you to ask yourself, “WHY do I want to influence, and what do I plan to do with it once I obtain it?” Develop your brand and leadership from a place of trust, or you will eventually fail.
2. They Are Competent. Nobody wants to hire or follow an incompetent leader. Competency seems to be a no-brainer, but I have worked with many people who have gained a position or influence early on, and it hurt them and their organization. Competency is not only proven by experience and education. Peer reviews are one place competency is found today. Clients learned that education and experience do not always equal competency (or a good fit). Think about it, when you hire someone to do a job, or visit a new restaurant, or buy something online, you probably go straight to the review section. I do this all the time! We give more trust as consumers when our peers leave a review (even though we do not know them!). When I’m raising funds, even in the non-profit sector, I approach people with whom I established trust! People want to know they can trust you before hiring you, buying your product, or giving to your non-profit.
3. Operate Within Your Gifts. This is the area that may seem odd or even overlooked. This is different from competency. Some people are trained and experienced in an area, but they may lack natural ability or conviction. They can do the task or service you are looking for, but they lack a particular element to lead well. This happens all the time in the corporate world. Let’s say I have the experience and education to get a specific job. I get hired, but I feel burnt out all the time. When I work and lead outside of my gifts, it usually leads to burnout and frustration. If you are in a position where this is happening, you are probably not operating within your natural gifts. This is one reason I continue to coach and work in the non-profit sector. I have a genuine love to see others succeed!