Authenticity is about openly and effectively expressing oneself, honouring commitments and encouraging this behaviour in others. It involves appropriately expressing specific feelings at work, such as happiness and frustration, providing feedback to colleagues about the way you feel, and expressing emotions at the right time, to the right degree and to the right people. Leaders high in this skill are often described as Genuine whereas leaders low in this skill are often described as untrustworthy. Authenticity is important in leadership because:
• It helps leaders create understanding, openness and feelings of trust in others.
• Leaders who are guarded, avoid conflict, or are inappropriately blunt about the way they feel can create mistrust, artificial harmony and misunderstandings with those around them, and
• Leaders need their people to be open with them. If as a leader, you do not role-model this behaviour, your direct reports will be guarded with you.