Leadership and Management

Are you authentic in your work?

Leadership today is all about self-awareness. Recently, I spoke with a project manager who had just been made redundant after seven years of service. She was doubting whether she would ever find work again. She was particularly hard on herself and wondered whether her experience would account for anything. She worried that she was not PMI or Prince certified and that no company would employ her without a qualification. So, to put her at ease, I began by asking her how many projects she had successfully led in her previous 7 years. She said about 26. I reminded her that about 70% of all projects fail so she must have been doing something right. I asked her to think about the skills and competencies that she brought each time to a project. She said “time management, goal setting and following up regularly with team members”. I nodded and then asked her if she felt previous project team members could rely on her. Did they trust her? She said they did. I then asked her about what motivated her to stay in a PM role for 7 years. She thought about it and said “I like working with people”.

I looked at her straight in the face and said “you’ll have no problem getting work again. You are an authentic leader, it’s clear to me that people trusted you, you were efficient with your time, set clear directions and got results”. She laughed but I went further. “It’s clear to me that you are trustworthy and that your purpose shines through. You like to work with others. These are qualities any employer would dearly like to have. You just need to be yourself at interviews and speak passionately about how you like working with people”.

Two months later, I ran into her again and she told me she had three offers on the table and was thinking them over. She even had time to take a part-time course that would get her PMI certified. She told me that the previous chat had helped allay her fears and that she was really able to focus on what mattered to her. Finding her purpose and holding true to her values helped her focus on what mattered.

In today’s marketplace, authenticity matters. Leaders need to find a purpose. Being clear on what motivates you brings clarity and purpose to your work. If you find yourself in a position whereby the daily grind of work clashes with your purpose and belief systems, then it’s only a matter of time before you think of moving on.

So, my advice is to take some time out and focus on what motivates you in your work. Find out what your purpose is. This will help centre you and give you the confidence to proceed without compromising yourself. You will find that as you live your purpose, others will see that you live it every day and it’s that authenticity that will shine through.``

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Shaw Academy

Updated: Apr 10, 2017

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