What is the real deal?
What is authentic about anything?
When something is authentic we say that it is the fully trustworthy article. When we say a person is authentic we are saying that they truthfully represent themselves in all facets of their life with honesty and truthfulness.
In leadership the requirements for a leader are to be authentic. A leader that is trustworthy, a leader that is genuine, a leader that is honest, a leader that is interested in the follower is a true or authentic leader.
Why is authenticity important? Would you trust a person who represented themselves in one way and acted in another? We search for congruence in action and word in most people but especially in a leader.
This above all:
To thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
~ Hamlet, Shakespeare
“In the end trust is about the heart, and someone making an investment in you from his or her heart.” Dr. Henry Cloud from his book Integrity
Is that what trust is all about? Is it about our sincere desire, effort and willingness to be open, genuine and authentic with another person with the goal of compassionately understanding their life, issues, struggles, and times of joy?
If we can truly take on the posture with intention of granting another human true compassion about all circumstances they are willing to share in their life without judgment we can begin to build some trust momentum. What holds us back from sharing our fears? In some respects we are exposing vulnerability in our character that we don’t necessarily want to share with others. In a relationship based on trust that sharing can take place if the person knows that what was shared is truly going to be held in confidence.
We live in a society that doesn’t do well in keeping things that shouldn’t be shared confidential. Those stories illuminate headlines, grow in gossip circles and begin a life all their own. If we are unfortunate enough to be the subject of a trail of gossip our ability to trust is not going to be very high.
When we can cross over into the world of another person and truly understand their problems, issues or concerns we begin to build a bridge of trust. When we are honest and authentic while demonstrating a character of integrity we build a bridge of trust.
The Tao te Ching number 33 presents a model that would be useful for becoming a trustworthy person.
“Knowing others is intelligence;
Knowing yourself is true wisdom.
Mastering others is strength;
Mastering yourself is true power.”
We first have to become as master to self, we have to become a genuine and authentic person that is filled with integrity. When we can do that we have the tools to build bridges. Bridges link people together in relationship.
Are you able to trust others? Can others trust you? What can you do to become more trustworthy?