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How to... build authenticity

Building authenticity is a choice and a journey. And given the past three years of economic uncertainty, the choice is clear: the need for authenticity has never been more pressing. Authenticity and undisputed credibility are pivotal for sustainable success in the current climate, as well as for the future. Follow these steps to build your authenticity.

1 Reality check

People are tired of insincerity and are looking for something real. It’s time for the return of authenticity in business and life. It’s about bringing your best self to work by allowing who you are on the inside to express itself on the outside. As an HR director said to me, “It’s about being humanistic.” Being real also relates to knowing how to use your intuition and emotional intelligence (EQ). A high level of EQ improves influencing skills and personal impact. Intuition can inform our decision-making processes in ways that enable greatly improved outcomes. In short, think less and feel more.

2 Be a good role model

Everyone is a role model, and being a positive role model enables and encourages you to raise the bar. Positive role models are passionate, optimistic and enthusiastic. They focus on solutions rather than problems. By doing so, you gain respect, enhance self-belief and improve your well-being measurably. In turn, you become more productive and raise your profile in the business in a good way.

3 Communicate effectively

One of the most important qualities that a businessperson can have is the power to communicate effectively and authentically. When we know the art and science of effective communication, all of our business relationships are enhanced. We have 10 seconds to make a positive first impression on people: that is the key to engaging and building rapport with anyone.

4 Think positively

Our mind is one of the few things we have any real control over. How we think is usually “how it is”. By choosing to think positively, we’ve a greater chance of getting more of what we want. This is not just about “positive thinking”; it’s a scientific fact that individuals who are optimistic gain more support from others, lead more successful lives and feel freer to behave more authentically.

5 Embrace change

Change is inevitable - and it’s also vital for the health of an organisation. US industrialist and philanthropist Warren Buffett has said, “Change before you have to.” For some, it might be more appealing to use the word “flexibility” instead of “change”, which suggests a more palatable challenge for some. Often, when people hear the word “change” they can become resistant. The research is clear that when we make even small changes we become more open, more flexible and mentally more agile. In order to build sustainable authenticity, one of the building blocks is flexibility.

6 Do the right thing

It’s often said that honesty is the best policy: actually, it’s the only policy. Researchers tell us that when behaving with integrity sits at the top of our to-do list, we increase feelings of self confidence and well-being. By doing the right thing, even when nobody else notices, our authenticity quotient is raised significantly.

7 One for all, and all for one

Being a part of a group, contributing to it and supporting others, is an integral part of building authenticity, specifically as it relates to being known as someone who has undisputed credibility. Asking for help and support in order for us to achieve our goals is not a weakness, it’s a great strength.

Key points

- Enhance and improve interpersonal relationships 
- Boost your communication skills 
- Think positively as a tool to effect positive outcomes
- Use flexibility as a way to increase personal effectiveness
- Engagement and rapport building can garner more support