Emotional intelligence alone won't make you an effective leader--although it's a start.
Millennials and more evolved CEOs are bringing forth the idea of the emotionally intelligent leader, rebelling against Donald Trump leadership styles. For decades, corporate culture revolved around charismatic leaders that preserved their own self-interest, in a way that was entertaining and displayed the confidence and bravado followers lacked. Today's new leader is attuned to the needs of others, leading to improved decision-making and higher levels of wellbeing.
But beyond EQ, there is a more refined, productive, and influential leadership style, called "authentic" leadership. It builds on emotional intelligence and takes it a step further. An authentic leader, above all, strives for authenticity and congruence between one's true self and one's actions with oneself and others.
Authentic leaders utilize self-awareness, self-acceptance, and integrate their knowledge, values, and personal philosophies into each interaction and business decision.
A recent study by psychological researchers Tony Fusco, Siobhain O'Riordan, & Steven Palmer used grounded theory to identify the skills of authentic leaders based on the results of a group-coaching intervention.
Here are 7 authentic leadership skills, according to Fusco, O'Riordan, and Palmer:
1. Strategic Orientation.
A strategic orientation means that authentic leaders are involved in a broad and long-term focus on strategic leadership goals. Instead of being content making fireworks, an authentic leader strives to make constellations--they play the long-term game.
2. Leadership Confidence and Clarity.
Authentic leaders take a purposeful approach to the tasks of leadership itself, such that, instead of worrying about taking a manualized approach to management, the leader is able to utilize his or her unique strengths to fit the role requirements.
The authentic leader knows that a one-size-fits-all approach to influencing others is outdated, and remains grounded in the roots of their true self rather than swaying in the wind of expectations associated with their role.
3. Leadership Capacity and Proactivity.
These new leaders maintain a proactive and resilient approach to dealing with leadership responsibilities. This mindset involves managing an ever-increasing workload more effectively by engaging in deep self-reflection. Authentic leaders utilize coaches and therapists to remove the blocks preventing them from engaging in work more fully.
4. Flexible and Effective Interactions with Others.
Similar to certain ideas within emotional intelligence, authentic leaders adapt to changing circumstances and environments. They have self-awareness in action--always gathering more information about clients, colleagues, and employees.
Constantly taking in information provides authentic leaders the ability to develop more effective patterns of communicating and relating to others.
5. Understanding of Others.
Going a step further, authentic leaders value the unique styles and behaviors of each employee. They recognize the importance of empowering each employee so that they feel understood and appreciated within a positive work culture that translates to increased productivity, and ultimately, higher profit.
6. Management Mindfulness.
Authentic leaders take a mindful approach to management duties. Staying grounded in the here-and-now, these leaders employ awareness to all management processes, like delegating.
Instead of shifting responsibility, authentic leaders mindfully take note of when to delegate and contemplate to whom, why, and how. They leave no stone unturned.
7. Self-Understanding and Self-Management.
Most importantly, authentic leaders work to increase their self-awareness, which contributes to better self-control and a greater sense of mastery.
This self-awareness is comprised of cognitive, emotional, and motivational awareness, as well as the ability to regulate each of these areas in a healthy manner. An authentic leader models these processes to colleagues and employees, inspiring them to continue growing and evolving as workers and as people.
While emotional intelligence and mindfulness are hot topics, authentic leadership development combines these elements and adds the concept of authenticity, or staying true to oneself. As cultural values continue to evolve, so does leadership.
Don't be a follower--be your true self, and be the best leader you can become.