If you’re an emerging leader in the financial services industry, or any industry for that matter, you’re likely juggling countless responsibilities. From managing projects to leading teams, there is a lot going on. You’re not just managing tasks, but managing people (or at least how you interact with them), and what you do is shaping futures. Your future, your clients and customers’ futures, and even the reputation of your organization.

That is why I ask the question, have you ever stopped to consider the role of your authentic self in all of this?

Understanding who you are at your core isn’t just a personal development goal; it’s a professional requirement. When you connect with yourself authentically, you pave the way for more genuine connections with those you lead, work with, and work for.

As we experience The Great Disconnect in our work and lives, authenticity drives us back to connection. It’s critical. But if this is so important, what gets in the way?

Navigating the path to authentic leadership can be challenging, especially when certain mindsets and habits get in the way. The “I’ll Rest When I’m Successful” mindset can keep you in a never-ending chase for external achievements, sidelining the crucial work of internal alignment. Then there’s perfectionism, which can make you your own harshest critic, clouding your ability to see your true self. Add to that a fear of vulnerability, which many mistakenly equate with weakness, and you’ve got a recipe for inauthentic leadership. And let’s not forget the trap of constantly seeking external validation, which can drown out your inner voice. Recognizing these barriers is the first empowering step toward breaking them down and leading with true authenticity.

So, today, we’ll delve into the importance of self-connection and understanding your authentic self as an up-and-coming leader in your organization or industry. We’ll explore why this internal alignment is crucial and how it can positively impact your leadership style, team dynamics, and, ultimately, your contribution to the success of your organization.

How do you implement authentic self-connection in your career and leadership?

A great question! Here are some suggestions to get more Clarity about who you are and what you bring to the “leadership table.”

  1. Self-Reflection: Take time to reflect on your values, beliefs, and motivations. What drives you? What are your non-negotiables? Knowing these will help you make decisions that align with your authentic self. For instance, maybe as a portfolio manager, with self-reflection, you realize your drive for success was rooted in your value of financial security. This understanding helps you make investment choices that are not just profitable but also aligned with your core values.
  2. Emotional Intelligence: Being aware of your emotions and how they impact your actions is key. Practice mindfulness techniques to become more attuned to your emotional landscape. Perhaps as a team leader, you’ve noticed that you are feeling unusually stressed lately and it’s affecting your decision making. By practicing mindfulness, you get to identify the specific stressors and address them, improving your overall effectiveness and producing a more calm state of being.
  3. Open Communication: Authenticity breeds trust. Be open and transparent with your team. Share your vision, and be receptive to feedback. That might mean that you are more transparent with your thought process and strategy in regard to high risk/reward decisions.
  4. Consistency is Key: Authenticity isn’t a one-time act; it’s a consistent practice. Make sure your actions and words align with your true self at all times. When you’re consistent with your actions and decisions, people know what to expect from you. There’s no “I wonder who is going to show up today” thinking from your co-workers and teams. That consistency allows them to trust you more easily, and trust is the bedrock of any team you’ll lead.
  5. Lead by Example: Your team looks up to you. When you lead authentically, you encourage others to do the same, creating a culture of genuine connection and mutual respect. As a team lead, it’s important to update your teams with new information through articles and insights, but it’s also important to show you are walking the talk too.

These roadblocks and habits aren’t permanent; they’re challenges to overcome. And the first step in overcoming them is recognizing them. Once you’re aware of what’s holding you back, you can take proactive steps to shift your mindset and develop habits that serve you better.

Start by carving out time for self-reflection, even if it’s just a few minutes a day. Use that time to dig deep and ask yourself the hard questions. What are your core values? What motivates you? What kind of leader do you want to be? The answers to these questions will give you a clearer picture of your authentic self, making it easier to lead with integrity and purpose.

So go ahead, take that first step. Your future self, your team, and your organization will thank you for it!

For more strategies on how to lead with clarity and authenticity, check out my Clarity-Driven Leadership Programming at www.DebbiePetersonSpeaks.com