The most innovative leaders are not the conformers, they are the ones who are willing to follow their truth and carve out their own path!
Too often people are told to do what their supervisor/manager/boss tells them to do. And in STEMM we know this is a common expectation and statement.
It is a regular thing for the newbie, the PhD student, and those ‘lower down the hierarchy’ to be told “if you want to get ahead, just do what you are told, keep your head down and you’ll succeed”.
People are told to bury their quirky, innovative, upbeat, pioneering personality in favour of fitting in, being mediocre, playing small and just ‘be like everyone else round here’. They are told to ‘think twice before you share your own ideas’, and expected to demonstrate that you ‘fit-in’ and you’ll go far!
The only thing this approach does, is form a complete and utter disservice to everyone!
So how we do carve our own pathway forward and become an innovative successful team member and leader?
The best way forward is to be unapologetically bold and Authentic!
Research by Harvard Business School Professor Francesca Gino, shows us that being our absolute true Authentic self, leads to greater professional performance and personal satisfaction.
What is wrongfully thought of when we hear the word ‘Authentic’ is, that it is okay to be completely unfiltered. This my friends, is far from being Authentic.
When we say Authentic, we are referring to bringing our whole self forward with self-awareness, self-regulation, psychological capital and agency. We are courageously confident to share our ideas and reveal our strengths and talents.
What does Authenticity look like and why does Authenticity matter?
👉 The data on entrepreneurs pitching ideas to venture capitalists shows that if your pitch is more genuine and authentic, you’re three times more likely to get money for your venture. (This can transfer to grant writing success as well).
👉 When bringing your whole self to the job and your career, your engagement increases, the likelihood of staying within the organisation amplifies drastically and deeper relationships are formed with colleagues.
👉 In an interview to secure promotion or a new role, if you are more authentic and bring your whole self forward when answering questions, you are much more likely to get the job.
Being Authentic not only feels better, it improves the likelihood of achieving your goals too!
Let’s Clarify Exactly What Authenticity Means:
It doesn’t mean that we go round thinking our ideas are fundamentally better than everyone else’s. When we are truly Authentic we have the courage to speak up and share our ideas with respect, self-awareness and self-regulation.
It doesn’t mean that because I love wearing my raggy shorts and bright coloured T-shirt, that I go to the research Institute in those clothes to take the executive leadership team on a training in Authentic Leadership. There’s still awareness and self-judgement around how I bring my talents and strengths forward.
The key is; we need to be filtering. Not to fit into expectations or boxes but to be more aware of self and the other person. Filtering in a way that brings our true Authentic self forward. Having an awareness of our strengths and sharing those with the intention to enhance the situation, not show-off, compete or bring others down.
Being Authentic is a conscious, purposeful, and intentional act that we engage in to bring our best self forward AND enrich the environment that we are in.
True Authenticity is contagious… go spread that stuff everywhere!