The John Maxwell leadership training center shares valuable insight on how to become a more authentic leader in 2018

Authenticity is not measured only by how we as leaders perform, but also how we allow our employees to perform. Enable your people to work as their authentic selves and watch your product or service come alive. Stifle their creativity and watch your organization hit the wall. As leaders, our job is to learn about our employees and identify how we can get the most out of them. Here are four ways we can do just that:

1. Define Authenticity — Before committing to a more authentic leadership culture, you first must define what that means for your organization. The concept and true source of authenticity are often misunderstood. You cannot call yourself “authentic.” Whether or not you possess this critical characteristic is up to those around you to debate. We must lead by example if we hope to authentically inspire and motivate our people. Control your emotions when you’re on the hot seat.

2. Channel Your Self-Awareness — When is the last time you channeled your self-awareness into tangible action? When you become cognizant of where you stand in the eyes of your employees, you unlock a whole new world of potential opportunity to develop the leadership skills of those around you. That’s because authentic leaders use awareness of their own strengths, weaknesses and emotional tendencies to identify the same characteristics in others.

3. Master the ‘Permission’ Level of Leadership — When a leader learns to function on the Permission level, people actually start to follow them. Not because they have the title of manager or executive, but because the leader begins to influence people by building relationships with them. Doing so develops a foundation for effective leadership and de-silos an organization’s infrastructure.

4. Find Common Ground — As an executive leader, there are projects and plans that you must control. There are others that call for close collaboration with your team. A truly authentic leader trusts his or her followers to perform, and gives them the leeway to make mistakes. Without this flexibility and open-mindedness, employee retention issues find their way into the conversation. People want to work for those they trust – and those who show trust in them.