Updated: May 12
One of the more important and impressive skills that you have because you are a human being is your ability to discern the difference between fake and phony.
We know the difference between rote, systematic customer service policies and addressing personal needs with interest and compassion. Truly, is there anything more frustrating than dealing with someone who is engaged in “corporate speak,” mouthing the words that relegate us to being a number rather than an individual? You can feel it.
We know when someone is being authentic, we know when they are being real. One of the greatest competitive edges in business today is authenticity. Professionals and companies that encourage practices based on this authentic truth immediately differentiate themselves from the competition.
Be your true self.
The world is full of great products and services. You can find them anywhere, competitively priced and availably instantly if not delivered by 8am to your front door. Obviously, better products, improved services and innovative solutions are all important, but they are hardly rare. Ask yourself if you sell anything that your competition doesn’t have. Probably not.
Authenticity separates the “really good” or the “good enough” or the “what you expect” from the truly amazing. The why of your work is what you’re asking your customer to buy into. What you believe your work does, the change it helps create and why you believe it is good and necessary is what will make the biggest difference to you and your efforts.
Dare to be honest. Plant a flag. Tell the world who you are and what you stand for. Authenticity changes everything, significantly.
Here are five rules to live by to ensure you are being authentic and to gain this competitive advantage.
1. Authenticity ignites human connection
You are never better, stronger, more creative or compelling than when you are your true self. The energy you possess and share connects you with your employees, customers and those you care for.
2. Authenticity opens the door to vulnerability and unity
When we are vulnerable, we drop the titles, status and formality. Humans want to connect. Great leaders show their humanness, dropping the corporate speak/guard and standing with those being led.
3. Authenticity requires you to be present
When you decide to show up as the real you, you have consciously moved into the present, into a realm of real-time connections. You are better able to make informed and enlightened choices that will lift you and others up.
4. Authenticity makes it possible to learn about others – including your customers
When you open up, you make it possible to know other people on a deeper more meaningful level. Being authentic creates room for others to do the same. Leadership is best delivered by modeling what you seek from others.
5. Authenticity will change your worldview
When you no longer need to hide behind what others want you to be, say or do, you put aside falseness and your persona – that image you might be unconsciously creating – and open up to a world of endless and positive opportunities.