Four Steps to Becoming a More Authentic Leader

In his book Trust Me: Four Steps to Authenticity and Charisma Dr. Nick Morgan shows how individuals can present an image of authenticity and respect for their audience - whether it’s a team, an executive meeting or through a one-on-one conversation.

Nick’s four-step process is extremely valuable for leaders who want to be more authentic and build genuine charisma. Both qualities are vital for effective leadership.

Here are his four steps:

1. Form the attitude and intent to be open. In every interaction, begin with an open body stance that naturally expresses your intent to be open and approachable. This will help set your audience at ease, and enable your message to be heard. This is also important when you are meeting individuals or teams face-to-face.

2. Become connected to your audience. Leaders who are seen as being genuinely authentic have this great ability to connect.  Connection is essential for communication. In my experience, the best leaders connect at a personal level. Opening up and sharing stories of your personal life (e.g., family, interests outside of work, etc.) is a great way to connect. I also find that having a humble attitude immediately puts people at ease, and ready to connect with you.

3. Ask yourself, what's my underlying emotion? Being clear on your emotional state is important. Nick says that when our words and body language are in conflict, body language (in the eyes of the beholder) wins every time. Our emotional state and our body language are deeply connected. If you are not aware, then your emotions may get the better of you and affect the intention and quality of your message. 

4. Really listen to the audience. Understanding the needs and reactions of the people you lead will enable you to direct your communication in mutually beneficial ways.  You will be seen as a transparent leader, one fully committed to the success of your direct reports and your team.