Authenticity is an important character quality for people who want to influence and direct others. Successful leaders display consistency of words and deeds. Authentic leaders are true to their own personalities, honest with themselves and others about who they are, humble in sharing both strengths and weakness with others.

A cause, program, or business agenda is secondary to values and beliefs. People will follow easily those whose actions line up with their stated values. A disconnect between what you say you believe and how you live, though, will compromise your effectiveness as a leader.

People living authentic lives have a sense of internal peace, while those living inauthentic lives will experience anxiety. Even during stressful times, an authentic people can feel peace in knowing they are living according to their values. People who project a false persona inevitably feel an inner conflict. It is tiresome to consciously behave in ways that aren’t true to yourself. Even people who are unaware of their own lack of authenticity may sense that something is amiss.

Genuine people draw others with sincerity and transparency. To be authentic, leaders need to be sure they are expressing themselves in a real way that allows others to know them. Leaders need to share enough so people can grasp that they are real, however leaders should be selective with what is shared and when.

This post was originally published at Mountain State University Leadertalk and is republished here with permission.