Are You Being Your True Self – Or a Hypocrite?

The online era has spawned a revolt against canned messages from corporations and top executives. Workers want their leaders to be “straight up.” As a result, authenticity has taken on a new importance.

So what is your authenticity strategy? Are you being true to your principles? Or are you seen as a hypocrite?

An authenticity strategy does not mean doing whatever you feel like or saying whatever comes into your head (it would have been plenty authentic if I’d cursed out a few employees over the years). Instead, the quest for authenticity should prompt you to ask yourself three critical questions.

1. What are my core values?

Authentic leaders are clear about the values that drive them. Maybe it’s a commitment to high-quality service. Or work-life balance in your company. Or absolute integrity and transparency. As a leader, you should determine what principles you hold most dear – and that’s what should guide your actions and decision-making. (Books like Tom Rath’s Strengths Finder 2.0 and Daniel Goleman’s Primal Leadership: Realizing the Power of Emotional Intelligence can help.)

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Dorie Clark is CEO of Clark Strategic Communications and the author of Reinventing You. She is a strategy consultant who has worked with clients including Google, the National Park Service, and Yale University. Listen to her podcasts or follow her on Twitter.