Many leaders can come off as either too polished and phony or not polished and poised enough. Knowing when and how to be authentic versus deliberate is the key to maintaining your leadership effectiveness.
For years, leaders were trained and advised to be more deliberate in their interactions. Polished and professional at all times. Calm in the storm. Carefully prepared for any type of communications. They worked hard to come across as confident, focused and in charge. They wanted to understand the needs of the people around them…and they tailored their messages to land with the greatest impact. It’s an effective strategy.
Unfortunately, some leaders got so wrapped up in being deliberate, they started to sound stilted. Phony. Disingenuous.
That explains why we started seeing more authentic leaders gaining in popularity and success. They were sincere…they showed equal parts of confidence and vulnerability…they were relatable. Human. When it came to leading and inspiring teams, authenticity was giving them a real edge.
But…you guessed it…some leaders started taking it too far. In the name of “authentic leadership,” they would hold nothing back. They used authenticity as an excuse not to filter their thoughts and comments…not to adjust their approaches. Even if their communications were a bit “in your face” or even insensitive, they made no apologies for that. After all, they were just being authentic.
Good intentions perhaps, but not the same impact. Either way, the overly deliberate and overly authentic leaders believed they were modeling a positive communication style…but they were actually undermining their own efforts to influence others.
In both cases, the moral of the story is the same: you can get too much of a good thing.
So what’s the solution? The most effective leaders find a strong balance between authenticity and intentionality.
They are both confident and humble
Decisive, yet flexible
Highly energetic, yet calm in a crisis
To maximize your influence as a leader, avoid the temptation to become hyper-focused on the popular communication style of the day. A balanced approach is timeless. Blending authentic and deliberate leadership will give you the control and flexibility you need….to dramatically accelerate your business success.