There are two types of authority figures. There are those that may hit it big for a while before their fame and fortune falters. They’re the shooting star authority figure. You can probably think of someone that you know who may have been a big deal in their industry for a short time but they lost favor after a while.
The other type of authority figure is someone who builds their authority over time and retains it. They are respected in their industry for decades.
There are many things that separate a shooting star from a steady and solid authority. Two of these differences are authenticity and transparency. The two words have been marketing buzzwords for the past year or two. What they mean, however, and what they provide will never go out of style.
This means that you are 100 percent yourself. You don’t fake your personality or create a persona. You’re not someone different when you’re at work than you are when you’re home or in your personal life. This is important for many reasons. One reason is that it’s much easier to connect with someone if they’re being “real.” Fake people often seem awkward or uncomfortable and people generally pick up on that.
Additionally, authenticity is easier to maintain. If you create a persona you may not be able to maintain it for decades. Eventually you’re going to get tired of it or you’ll get found out. People will learn that you’re not who you make yourself out to be. When that happens, your credibility and authority will plummet.
People want to hire and buy from those they know, like, and trust. That’s a universally held truth across the business world and the best way to earn the trust of your clients is to be authentic in how you present yourself.
Other than being a commonly-used buzzword these last few years, authenticity means being your true self in both words and actions. Your words and actions should match; your passion should be evident but not looking like it’s an act. Your honesty and integrity should be evident when speaking to you. And your online persona should match your offline persona when people meet you in person.
Some business people argue that there’s a subtle nuance to authenticity that really means being yourself in the correct setting. For instance, wearing shorts or a business casual outfit to a corporate meeting where the other attendees are in formal suits could be seen as a sign of disrespect, even if that’s what you wear at your beach house. If you start cursing in the middle of a staff meeting or in your emails or on your social media posts, even if that’s how you speak at home, it could be seen as disrespectful and off putting. No matter how you define the word authenticity, it’s an important trait when it comes to company branding and associating yourself as your company’s spokesperson.
Transparency means that you are honest about who you are and what you know. Transparent authority figures are okay with telling people when they don’t know the answer. They don’t need to know everything. However many industry authorities are passionate about their industry and will quickly dig up knowledge when they don’t know the answer.
Another component of being real, humble, and honest is that you’re able to brand your personality. If you’re a tax geek, for example, then you can embrace that personality characteristic and use it to connect with others who are interested in learning more about taxes or who may want your services. There are more benefits and opportunities when you embrace and share your real self rather than to make up a persona.
Being real is important to create and maintain authority. One time it may be difficult to be “real” is when you receive criticism. It’s difficult to hold your tongue and not react. However, that’s exactly what you have to do.
The poor used car salesman stereotype gets a bad rep but you can immediately picture a smarmy guy who is all pleasant to your face but then bad mouths you when out of earshot for not buying his car or asking too many questions. For most people, that would turn them off from buying because you wouldn’t know if he’s telling the truth or just wanting to sell you a car.
Someone who’s authentic would have a genuine interest in wanting to help you, in this example, by selling you a reliable used car that actually works. They would answer any questions you might have and would find the answers if they didn’t know them right off the bat. They would be honest about the inner workings of the car and would be disappointed if you walked away from the deal, but you wouldn’t feel pressured to buy something you’re not ready for. Which of these salespeople gives you the better authenticity vibe in this example?
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Hi, I'm Rendesia
I support and provide tools for multi-passionate changemakers to build awesome brands, make meaningful connections, and grow in a sustainable way on their own terms.