Authentic Leaders are the Antidote for a Languishing, Post-COVID Workforce

People who are in languish mode lack their usual drive. They feel disconnected, without momentum, and are functioning below their ability. According to The New York Times, this state of languishment – a “blah” feeling – is widely affecting workers around the world as a result of the challenges presented by COVID.

How do you turn around a languishing workforce? Authentic leadership.

Authentic leadership focuses on development-oriented and altruistic solutions to solve modern issues. Bosses whose leadership style focuses on authenticity stay tuned-in to how subordinates feel. They build a framework of authentic bonds with those around them. Considering all the stress, uncertainty, and grief caused by the pandemic, having the leadership skill of authenticity is critical to reframing the workforce experience and helping its members tap into new depths of motivation.

What is Authentic Leadership?

Modern leaders should be skilled in various forms of leadership styles including affiliative, authentic, coaching, democratic, laissez-faire, pacesetting, transactional, transformational, and visionary – and understand how to shift to apply the best approach to the situation. In the case of a languishing workforce, authentic leadership is the turnaround antidote that is needed.

Authentic leaders foster trust and positivity throughout their organization. This leadership style is based on a desire for positive experiences and outcomes for personnel and the company as a whole. It emphasizes honesty, transparency, and building a web of strong connections between leaders and their subordinates that extends throughout the organization. Because authentic leaders work to develop relationships and positive solutions to challenges, this enables a leader to quickly understand the state of the workforce and remedy the doldrums of languishment.

Authenticity is both the simplest and the most genuine of all the leadership styles. However, becoming accomplished at this style of leadership is harder than it may seem. Most leaders are stuck in old behavior patterns, based on unconscious assumptions, which result in ineffective “do as I say” methods or approaches that inadvertently create mistrust and disengagement. Being a successful authentic leader requires integrity, introspection, and a feedback-oriented mindset.

4 Keys to Developing Authentic Leadership

  1. Development-Orientation
    A key characteristic of authentic leadership is being development-oriented. Continual efforts to learn, grow, and progress must start at the leadership level because subordinates take their cues from, and emulate, higher-ups. Leaders must be willing to have direct conversations with team members about the mindset and behaviors expected to perpetuate growth.
  2. Self-awareness and Transparency
    Authentic leaders cultivate a sense of introspection, consistently working to deepen their self-awareness and to be transparent regarding what they are learning about themselves. Awareness of personal blind spots is often realized through ongoing feedback and a neutral, external coach who is trained to identify blind spots. Great strides in uncovering the unconscious roots of problems for modern leaders are being made through groundbreaking neuroscientific techniques. When leaders are transparent – sharing with others what they are working to improve – they implicitly give others permission to work on themselves as well, thereby positively impacting the direction of the corporate culture.
  3. Mutual Feedback
    For authentic leaders, feedback goes two ways. They provide feedback to peers and direct reports, and regularly seek feedback for themselves to leverage faster shifts and advance growth. They also model how to give feedback effectively, emphasizing conscious, constructive, kind feedback that doesn’t demean or blame. They avoid shame language and words, such as should, why, right, wrong, bad, good, you, always, and never.
  4. Cultural Integration
    Approaching leadership holistically, authentic leaders aim to create a new cultural operating system, characterized by the skills described above. Conducting or sending people to a seminar is not enough to create a development-oriented culture. This merely results in short-term enthusiasm that quickly wanes and is forgotten. When the senior leadership team understands and exemplifies these skills and doesn’t tolerate a lack of them, the traits of authenticity will cascade throughout the company. This creates an environment for continuous, nimble improvement as the company moves forward and takes on new initiatives, rather than one characterized by the sluggish course adjustment of a battleship.

Eliminating Languishment Through Authentic Leadership

Demands on modern leaders have changed dramatically in the last two years, revealing issues never seen before, requiring solutions never used before.

The modern solution is authentic leadership, which doesn’t come at the snap of a finger. It is a skill that is learned and developed with the help of a high-level coach, experienced and credentialed in the science of how authentic leadership works. This is our specialty at Velocity Leadership Consulting. We use neuroscience to modernize leadership and develop authentic leaders. We support clients by coaching them on the skills to employ for optimal effectiveness, according to the needs of the company and workforce. Leadership is no longer “one approach works in every situation.” When you’re ready to modernize your leadership and results, schedule a meeting to explore how our methods will work at your company.

Modern leaders need the latest, fastest approach. Velocity Leadership Coaching helps create more impactful leaders by using groundbreaking neuroscience that addresses issues at the root and goes beyond traditional, superficial solutions. We help leaders understand their blind spots and develop the skills for the various leadership styles needed to be successful. We coach them on which skills to employ for optimal effectiveness, according to the current experiences within their company and workforce. What separates our unique Power Pathways™ approach from traditional coaching methods is that it works with the unconscious to create faster, more permanent change. When you’re ready to shift from old methods and become a more authentic leader, contact me to schedule a conversation.