The importance of authenticity is not a novel concept: it’s been acknowledged as far back as Shakespeare’s Hamlet (“to thine own self be true!”). It’s since been shown that consistently behaving and thinking in a way that matches your values, emotions and beliefs increases the likelihood of reaching your potential. Renowned psychologists such as Maslow and Rogers even consider it a basic human need.
Authentic leadership – what bestselling management authors Bill George and Peter Sims dubbed your “True North” – has risen up the leadership agenda over the last 25 years. Research has shown authenticity to be vital for developing trust at both a team and an organisational level. In healthcare settings, where I am based, it’s been shown that this in turn leads to improved patient outcomes.
- Member exclusive: Bill George & Peter Sims on discovering your authentic leadership – read in ManagementDirect
Authenticity is crucial for perfomance and wellbeing
There’s more. Inspired by my own personal workplace experiences of its polar opposite dynamic – inauthenticity – I recently conducted a novel study into the link between authenticity, wellbeing and performance as part of my CMI-assessed Level 7 senior leader apprenticeship at the University of Sheffield.
Surveying over 300 staff within a large charity delivering mental health care, I found that authenticity is a crucial factor in improving perceptions of team performance and psychological wellbeing.
If you want to leverage this insight to optimise your team’s performance, there are a few more things you should know.
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