It is true that in some instances "fake it 'til you make it" makes sense but most of the time this is a losing strategy for a leader. Fake leaders can be found everywhere and are easy to identify. They give us an uneasy feeling that they shouldn't be trusted. Fake leaders end up losing respect, struggling to gain trust, and failing to create meaningful, lasting relationships.
If you want to become a respected leader, here are 4 reasons you should never adopt a 'fake it 'til you make it' attitude.
1. Authentic leaders are more credible.
Would you follow to someone who you know is being fake? Probably not. Most people can tell a fake leader when they see one. Authentic leaders build more trust which leads to credibility.
2. If you fake it, your team will too.
Your number one duty as a leader is to set an example for your team. This means you're responsible for showing your team how to manage challenges. Let's say you pretend there are no issues, even when major problems are evident to everyone else in the organization, this could teach your team to avoid problems. On the flip side, if you address challenges, your team will follow your lead of taking action.
3. Vulnerability is an honorable trait.
The ability to be upfront about your weaknesses is a strength. The best leaders are vulnerable and honest about how they feel, what they think, and what they want, and that's how they connect with their people. If you're hiding your true self from your team, no one will be able to make a strong connection to you and your goals. Being vulnerable and open will get you the support you need to lead others to greatness.
4. Don't try to be perfect.
There's no reason to pretend you're perfect. In fact, it’s always better to be honest about your mistakes as soon as they occur. Why? Because your team is likely to model your behavior. And if you never share any of your own mistakes, they won't share any of theirs. This is detrimental to growth because mistakes are an opportunity to learn new lessons. Sharing your struggles also opens up a path of communication between you and your team, and this gives you a chance to coach and guide individuals to success.
Please add to the conversation—comment below or on Twitter at @gregbellspeaks.