Authentic Leadership and Business Growth

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By now, those in the business world who haven’t heard of authentic leadership are few and far between. It’s an idea that’s stuck around because it works. But like any idea that catches on, there’s the risk of it being turned on its head and used as an excuse to stick with the status quo.

Strong leadership depends on knowing who you are, but as Hermina Ibarra pointed out in a 2015 Harvard Business Review article, who you are changes as your role changes and your experience grows. Self-awareness means knowing your strengths and your limitations—but not being bound by them.

Business growth, like personal growth, requires a willingness to change. Whether you’re trying to improve your personal communication at home or a new marketing strategy at the office, old habits will have to be broken or evolve, which means old skills can be put to new uses. You may no longer know all of your customers by name, but personalized customer service can still be a core value of your business.

Growing your business by going through channels you’re not used to may not seem authentic to your leadership style, but don’t mistake “new” for “artificial.” After all, marketing is just like any product, requiring constant improvement and refinement in order to stay relevant.

Besides, delving into new markets or new applications for your products may just end up sparking enhancements that will benefit your existing clients as well. One of our material handling clients, Wildeck, Inc., recently took on the challenge of replacing a local church’s outdated freight lift with one of their vertical reciprocating conveyors (VRCs). Used to providing mezzanines and vertical conveyors in industrial settings, Wildeck found that with a few adaptations to their product, they’ve opened up their market to institutional clients looking for economical answers to facilities management needs. For Wildeck, the setting was new, but the company’s commitment to personal service and customized solutions remained.