It was a pleasure to pre-view my book Yours Truly at the 7th HR Minds Employee Engagement Forum in Amsterdam last Thursday June 1st. I want to thank the organizers GLC for their support and the more than one hundred delegates for their enthusiasm.
Some of the most authentic leaders are people we have not heard of. The motivation for this book came from my conversations and in-depth interviews with real authentic leaders in real situations; CEOs and start-up founders from around the world. They inspired me to tell their stories.
Their stories are intertwined with my research and studies from more than 20 years to offer practical steps to improve your authenticity.
If you are a leader looking for employees’ engagement, you´d better provide more than a pay-check. Lack of authenticity in leaders lies near the heart of the crisis of confidence. It is important that you become comfortable being authentic.
In the presentation, I explain how the 3 Hs of Authentic Leadership -Heart, Habit, and Harmony, helps you to stay true to your authentic self.
Heart: To engage employees into your vision, you have to look at your heart to find your passion. Richard Branson, who is considered one of the most important entrepreneurs, is admired not only for his entrepreneurial activities, but because he is known as somebody who put his heart into his business. Like Branson, Rafael de la Rubia, featured in my book, followed his heart into a multi-tracking life. He is a professional athlete, a successful entrepreneur and an accomplished musician. Hiroko Samejima left Chanel to follow her passion and founded andu amet, a brand of leather bags made from Ethiopian sheepskin.
Habit: Make learning a habit to engage your employees. Oprah Winfrey is a great example of an authentic leader moving from zero to “unsung hero” with lifelong learning. Like Oprah, Dena Schultz the founder of Estate Professionals in Colorado turned bad news into opportunities. She stayed psychologically fit building strong relationships at work and at home. Angel Ruiz, CEO of Ericsson North America for the past 15 years, is a survivor. He left Cuba at 12, fought a brutal battle with colon cancer, and turned around a battered Ericsson.
Harmony: Putting employees first, PERI a German multinational company specialized in scaffolding creates a harmonious context for employees to grow. Senior leaders of PERI truly care about employees –their safety and their development. PERI is an authentic organization with a strong group identity. An authentic organization is not only good for employees; but it can also benefit the firm. My studies show that the positive attitude of “engaged employees” increases sales growth over three years.
Remember that to become and stay and authentic leader, you don´t need to fall into the mentality of a super-hero, instead shift to the mindset of unsung heroes.