Thailand has recently bidden a grand final farewell to their beloved King Bhumibol Adulyadej with an elaborate five-day funeral that began on 25th October 2017. His achievements and services to the nation were remarkable. He possessed a great strength of character and the four qualities of authentic leader. They are: self-awareness, internalization of moral values, solicitation of feedback and being genuine or authentic.
Becoming an authentic leader is not easy. It takes a great deal of self-reflection and the courage to do the right thing. It also involves the ability to solicit divergent viewpoints and harness authenticity. How can we, as Toastmasters members, identity our leadership style that is authentic to us and translate it into action?
Read on for four ways that can guide us to become authentic leaders
1. Encourage Self-Awareness
Great Toastmasters members understand people, most importantly themselves. They know and express their values. Cultivating authentic leadership style requires a willingness to engage in a deep, courageous self-reflection.
Toastmasters club and district leaders should help their club members to get in touch with their strengths and personal values with questions like:
- Do you know why you joined Toastmasters?
- What aspects of your professional and toastmasters services have you found most meaningful?
- When have you felt most inspired?
- How are you acting in accordance with your values?
- What helps you cope with setbacks?
Also prompt them to take into consideration other leaders they look up to or aspire to be like. What is that they admire about them? Encourage them to think about what aspects of these leaders’ behaviors they can model and “try on.”
2. Encourage Self-Awareness
By consciously performing your club officer and district leadership roles, you have the opportunity to practice and internalize the four core values – integrity, respect for the individuals, service to the members, and dedication to excellence. These are also the four cornerstones of authentic leadership character and personality.
3. Emphasize the importance of feedback
As valuable as looking inward can be, self-reflection is not enough. Great Toastmasters members are proactive about getting outside perspective and feedback in order to improve and achieve results. Personal Evaluators and General Evaluators should be encouraged to provide constructive evaluation and feedback to their table topic or prepared speech speakers. This will unearth the opportunities for the evaluators to apply their unique skillset to influence and drive results. There is also no better way to establish trust and rapport than nurturing relationships. Successful authentic Toastmasters members strive to leverage the capacity of others, so the evaluation and feedback sessions illuminate ways they can do so – whether by offering resources or other instrumental support.
4. Be Genuine
Having the courage to be emotionally open and transparent is a key to being authentic in a leadership role. Why is being genuine so important? It is because being genuine make you more trustworthy and approachable in any leadership scenario, be it presiding over a Toastmasters club, a work team or a classroom. That leads to more committed club or team members or classmates, not to mention better results.
By Nuchanath Aumpradithpun, ACS, CL – District 97P Public Relations Manager