In his book The Catalyst Leader, Brad Lomenick lists some great practices to be an authentic leader:
Practice self-awareness. Before you can release your true self you have to recognize your true self. Too many people refuse to accept and even name their weaknesses, struggles, and pitfalls. As a result, they accept a version of themselves they believe others will like better. Understand who you really are.
Question yourself. I encourage leaders to evaluate their self-acceptance with honest questions: Whose attention do you crave? Are you chasing the approval of friends, colleagues, and customers? What is it you don’t like about yourself, and how can that shortcoming also be a strength? Self-diagnosis can lead to self-discovery, which is the only path to authenticity.
Move from self-promotion to storytelling. I can appreciate the effort made by individuals in the public eye to shape their personal brands. But I also worry about the effects this can have on living an authentic life. If you want to be a change maker, begin to see public outlets as places for sharing your personal story.
Resist the urge to create a digital alter ego. Refuse to hide behind a website or Facebook page. Instead, adopt the mind-set of Claire Diaz Ortiz, social innovation director for Twitter: “Social media is not just about being connected. It’s about being transparent, intimate, and honest.”
Learn to laugh at yourself. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Instead, grow comfortable enough with who you are to laugh and laugh often. When you are able to accept and even chuckle at your blunders and mess-ups, others will too. And this common experience will help you bond with them.
Build a support network. Beware of the temptation to surround yourself with flatterers who only tell you what you want to hear. Keep honest people in your life that can help you stay grounded and keep from thinking you’ve arrived.
Be interested over interesting. Be more concerned with listening instead of talking. Focus on others, not yourself.
In his book The Catalyst Leader, Brad Lomenick lists some great questions to ask as you discern God’s will and God’s call on your life:
What are your passions and gifts? At the intersection of these two elements, you’ll find your purpose in life.
What would you work on or want to do for free? That is usually a good sign of what God has designed you to do.
What energized you when you were a child? Does it still animate you? Knowing your calling is often directly connected to childhood passions and gifts.
If you could do anything and take a pay cut, what would that be? You may have to blow up your financial goals in order to pursue your true calling.
What barriers are preventing you from pursuing your true calling? Can you begin removing those?
If you aren’t engaging your gifts and talents where you find yourself now, could you make changes in your current role to better engage those? Don’t rule out the possibility that where you are is where you need to be.