We all want to be led by somebody who seems “real”. People associate authenticity with sincerity, trust and credibility. When we feel someone is an authentic leader we assume that person is “the real deal”. The reverse is also true. When we don’t like a leader, we end up saying: “they don’t seem authentic” rather than “I just don’t like their leadership.”
If you’re a leader, you’re probably aware of the importance of authenticity, but it can be a difficult quality to measure. Your authenticity is defined by a collaboration of perceptions between you and others, which produces an ongoing idea of you as a leader. This makes authenticity more of a developing work of art than a finished project. The key question to consider is: what idea of yourself do you want to cocreate with those around you?
The most effective method I have found for encouraging positive perceptions is nonverbal communication. By adjusting and augmenting our body language we can alter the perceptions others have of us.