Project Practitioners > Be Authentic

Be Authentic

By Ann Drinkwater

Good or bad, I am always the same. In my profession, I may tailor my message to my audience, but my core values, personality and ideas are the same regardless of who I am talking to. I think this goes a long way towards building teams, developing loyalty and relationships. People know where I stand and generally know how I will react. This builds trust. Granted, trust and relationships also require respectful interactions and honest communication.

One of my favorite quotes is “if you want to test a man’s character, give him power”. This is when you see what someone is truly made of and how they treat people. Moving ahead and gaining responsibility should not change who you are, how you respond to others and ultimately how you treat people. Yes, you may have more pressure, but forcefully navigating over others or stating your position authority doesn’t create a following and therefore does not gain long-term results. While staying true to yourself, it is always more beneficial to develop meaningful and authentic relationships and connections. There will always be situations and people that make this difficult. There will be individuals that despite your best efforts will not align with your views or personality. In these situations, you may not have a strong relationship per se, but if you stay true to yourself and treat others with respect, you will likely earn the respect of others. Sometimes that is all we can ask for.

And while we may have the best interest of our teams, co-workers and communities at heart, we cannot control what others think and how they respond. We can certainly help shape others through a respectful, consistent and authentic approach. Below are my tips for being authentic and someone who is not only a good leader, but a good follower.

  • Be respectful,
  • Be committed,
  • Be fair,
  • Be true to yourself,
  • Be consistent,
  • Be humble and humanize

True high-performing organizations and teams do not rise to that level through intimidation, hostility and disrespect. Some of my most meaningful, productive and memorable professional experiences involve working with like-minded, committed, consistent, interesting and respectful teams.

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