In researching for my second book on the ABCs of powerful professional development™, I have been thinking a lot about how to create authentic spaces. What I’ve found applies to communication as well.
Authenticity is a function of creating psychological safety, developing self-awareness, and being values-driven.
If it’s good enough for Google, it’s good enough for you.
In 2015, Google released the results of a two-year study conducting 200+ interviews exploring what makes teams effective. At the top of the list was psychological safety. If people feel safe, they are free to truly be themselves, speak their mind, and take risks. In other words, they are able to be authentic.
How a leader communicates is a signal that people are safe or unsafe. Creating safety through your words also shows authenticity.
Reflection question: How are you communicating that people belong, that you care about them, trust them, that it’s okay for them to take risks, etc?
Action Step: Invite your team’s thoughts into a discussion before sharing your own.
What’s going on with me? The importance of self-awareness.
Leaders that have developed their self-awareness land messages that come across as authentic.
According to the authors of Emotional Intelligence 2.0:
“83 percent of people high in self-awareness are top performers, just two percent of bottom performers are high in self-awareness.”
It’s a solid bet that those high-performers are also great communicators. There is a level of personal accountability and execution in regards to performance, but creating value is really a team game. And you’re not motivating any team if you don’t communicate well.
Reflection questions: Do you understand how your emotions are influencing your words and actions right now? Are they helping you communicate better? If not, what are you going to do about it?
Action step: Journal in the morning and set an intention for the day. If it’s a team meeting write about what would make it a success and what you need to do for yourself, to show up as the best version of yourself.
At the end of the day, remember “Rule #6.”
“Rule #6″ is a core value of mine. I have others that also guide my work, but the essence of this principle is that my work should be taken seriously, but I should avoid taking myself too seriously. Nobody likes being around a self-obsessed jerk. The universe doesn’t revolve around me.
When I live in alignment with my core values I tend to have more fun, be more productive, and have more influence.
Reflection question: Am I communicating in alignment with my values or am I communicating in a way that imitates someone else?
Action Step: Communicate your core values to your teammates. Ask for feedback on where you honor or violate those values.
If you want to communicate more authentically create safety, cultivate your self-awareness, and be values-driven.