How to be an Authentic Leader

how to be an authentic leader with johnathan aberman

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How to be an Authentic Leader with Jonathan Aberman. Jonathan is the Dean and Professor of practice at the School of Business and Technology at Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia. Managing Director, Amplifier Advisors, and Chairman and Managing Director of Tandem NSI.

“If there’s ever a time to be authentic, it’s now. 

People can smell it, and they can see it.”

In this episode, Jonathan shares an underlying theme of servant leadership and using the strategy as teams tackle challenging problems like transferring to a virtual work environment and dealing with despair.

Jonathan explains the importance of not letting technology work against you as you lead your virtual team. His secret to leading a virtual team is giving autonomy and expecting accountability. He points out two qualities in highly effective leaders which is empathy, and self-awareness. He shares how asking yourself and your team one question can give you incredible feedback in leading through tough times. 

Key Points:

Strategy Changes in Transferring to Virtual Leadership

  • First, When delivering video calls, speak from the heart, not from a script with a focus on providing hope and clarity.
  • His secret to successful leadership as a virtual leader is giving both autonomy and expecting accountability.
  • Remember, you have to force serendipity in a virtual team.
  • Avoid Zoom schedule burnout by Implementing non-mandatory Zoom meetings to replace your open-door policy. Most serendipitous meetings are only 5 minutes long
  • Leaders have to be intentional about scheduling time to meet with people. They aren’t just going to “run into them” in a virtual setting.
  • When demonstrating authenticity in the physical world, leaders can use cues like an open-door policy and getting coffee with people. Demonstrating authenticity online involves things like doing your meetings without a zoom background so people can see the authentic you.
  • Organizations that are thriving through the pandemic are purpose-oriented, conscious capital organizations.

How to be an Authentic Leader while Dealing with Despair and Uncertainty

  • A silver lining in the pandemic is that we have extra time to focus on hobbies and ask deeper questions. Many are identifying our personal “Why” and getting clear on who we are here to serve.
  • Leaders help their teams deal with uncertainty by helping them focus.
    • You could say,
      • “I need you to focus on three things right now.”
      • Or “Where are you (or could you) be spending your best time right now?”

Self-Awareness

  • Highly effective leaders are self-aware and empathetic.
  • Leaders today need to not only get real with their people but also get real with themselves.
  • Questions to ask: 
    •   Am I doing a good job? To yourself, and to your team. 
    •   What’s my personal WHY and who am I here to serve? 

How to be an Authentic Leader through Servant Leadership

  • To be a stronger servant leader, you need to first understand people are stressed, frightened, and overwhelmed by information. 
  • Leaders can accommodate stress by acknowledging their own stress. Servant Leaders can create clarity in uncertain situations by being clear in explaining what they know, what they don’t know, what they think might happen, and being frank about the facts.
  • Action-oriented, type A personalities are struggling because of the circumstances.  They can’t be as action-oriented right now and are learning to sit back and let some things go.
  • Finally, Servant leadership recognizes that there are a lot of ways to get to a final destination.

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This episode is brought to you by Marymount University, School of Business and Technology: innovative solutions up-skilling for the what’s next economy. Oyster Organizational Development dedicated to higher performance, business success, and leveraging team. And Wejungo designing customized talent acquisition solutions.