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Former Member

It may not be breaking news, but technology has been changing the way companies communicate and conduct business. It’s been happening for years and it’s not done yet. Language barriers continue to diminish, small companies continue to go global, and entire business models continue to change – just to name a few of the countless ways businesses are affected.

Successful change within an organization starts with its leaders, as they are a crucial component of the process. They need to stay abreast of the changes to fully understand the impact they will have and how to manage them moving forward.  What may be overlooked, however, is that leaders also need to be close with their team members in order for change to be explained well and understood by everyone. In a recent Forbes article, author Glenn Llopis explains how teams must represent “a convergence of intelligence and know-how that is in sync and strongly interconnected.”

How to be close with your team members

To be close with your team members, be close with yourself. Could this sound any more like common sense? Probably not. But, as I listened to Robin Wheeler speak last month during SAP’s People Week, the statement began to mean much more. Robin, a Johannesburg-based entrepreneur, international speaker and author, believes that it is extremely important to “be yourself for a living.” This piece of advice is all about being more alive. If you’re truly alive, expressing yourself and self-actualizing, you’re adding value to your team and to the world.

How to be yourself for a living

How exactly do you do it? It’s easier said than done. In his discussion Robin explained that if you’re going to be yourself for a living, you need to primarily look internally to yourself and externally to the world, working on an alignment. This alignment gives you a sense of connection to the world and what your purpose is. Look both inward and outward, constantly working with both energies. In other words, be authentic.

In an article titled “What Is Authentic Leadership?” Kevin Kruse further expands on Robin’s piece of advice:

  1. Be self-aware and genuine. Gain awareness of your strengths, limitations and emotions. Show your real self to your team members and don’t hide your weaknesses.
  2. Be mission driven and focused on results. Put the mission and goals of the organization before yourself.
  3. Lead with your heart. Don’t hide your emotions or be afraid to be vulnerable. Connect with your employees and do it with empathy.
  4. Focus on the long term. Nurture your employees and your company by focusing on long-term values.

How authenticity creates business value

Once you’re an authentic leader and communicating with transparency, change within your organization will be embraced by the team as a unit. Your team members will trust you, which is important for any transitions to run smoothly. Ivy Business Journal writers Ralph Beslin and Chitra Reddin explain how being close with your team and creating this culture of trust allows information to be shared quickly and freely. This enables organizations to thrive.