- F2O- Freedom to operate - for employees to determine what strategies they use to fulfil their task
- F2S - Freedom to speak - for staff to freely articulate their ideas, hopes and to challenge, as opposed to covertly object
- F2A - Freedom to actualise - for people to fulfil their potential to become the best they can whilst spending the most of their waking time at work
- How can you claim more freedom to operate for yourself? And how can you enable your teams to claim it? For example, by demonstrating your credibility, specifying the boundaries, encouraging people to take risks
- What are the realities that we are not currently facing in our organisation? What are the threats that we pretend not to see?
- What value are you contributing to your organisation? How can you make what you do more meaningful?
We have recently asked Robin Ryde to facilitate a discussion on authenticity in leadership to support the development of our growing community of leaders at the University of Sheffield. As an authenticity, transparency and openness advocate, I have found that discussion stimulating and extremely important for leaders at all levels.
What is authenticity? The words such as: genuineness, consistency, credibility, being true to your values, doing what you said you would come to mind.
In my view, without authenticity there cannot be true leadership. Leading self and others requires transparency and alignment with who we are.
I am sure, we can all think of leaders whose actions did not match their words and the promises they had made, and we know what our responses to those leaders were. In order for individuals and teams to follow, to support, to engage in a cause, to trust, to invest their energy into increasing productivity and excellence, to contribute their diversity, to create positive and happy work places, authenticity is essential.
Authenticity is a dynamic process, through which individuals and organisations discover who they really are and derive meaning through it. It may involve a certain level of "de-armouring" - finding out which patterns, behaviours, limitations, values don't suit us any more, and consciously letting go of them and choosing different ones.
At a deeper level, authenticity has a real appeal. To be seen, to be heard, to be understood, to be ourselves, consistently, wherever we go, whatever we do, to be able to give the best of us without holding back, without calculating how it may be received, what's the gain... There are a lot of social and cultural norms and laws that put boundaries around it. Some of them are valid and helpful (equality, diversity, freedom of speech, etc.). Some of them keep us small and not understood...
So how do we know that we are in the environment that is authentic? We see it, we hear it, we sense it: in people's behaviours, conversations, relationships, level of trust... A lot of it cannot be easily verbalised. We just feel it and we know, not knowing how we know.
It has been argued that individuals who have freedom to be authentic are more motivated, more productive, the level of their wellbeing increases and stress levels decrease. They have pride in their work. Authentic organisations are more efficiently governed, have better accountability, produce more sustainable results and are more immune to economical turndowns.
Robin Ryde talked about three aspects of authenticity:
Three thought-provoking questions related to those aspects were paused.
You may want to consider them for yourself: