My daughter and I had our portraits drawn as caricatures. It is a cartoon-like mocking, exaggerated portrait.
Sometimes when you meet someone, you get the gut feeling that they are trying to be someone they aren’t. An overcompensation for a deep seated fear or anxiety.
As leaders, our employees and team members will pick up on this fakery and it will prevent them from truly wanting to help us succeed.
Your character is the sum of your qualities, reputation and behavior. Our built in B.S. detectors can usually pick out whether someone is comfortable in their own skin.
I’ve had a couple of recent examples with individuals who were overcompensating for their perceived shortcomings.
The first is a woman who is very smart and caring and wants the best for the company she works for. She appeared to be trying too hard to impress me and perhaps her boss. After the official meeting ended I pointed this out to her and suggested that she didn’t need to try so hard. She is already good enough. To over exaggerate will actually cause people to resist her leadership and maybe even resent her.
In another example a well-meaning manager was going out of his way to keep his team of employees happy. His way of keeping them happy was to do most of the work himself. This would get him flustered and he would become short tempered. The employees were becoming disgruntled because they thought he didn’t trust them.
Tips for Being a More Authentic Leader
- Accept yourself for who you are – strengths and weaknesses.
- When you are uncertain or don’t know – say so and have a plan to find out.
- Avoid taking yourself too seriously, let your true colors shine through.
- Stop trying to impress people with fancy language and say it like it is.
- Be more humble – allow your actions and results speak for themselves.
- If you do have some deeper issues start working them out with a professional therapist or counselor.
Watch how people respond to you when you are a more genuine and authentic leader.