The Importance of Being Authentic

Ding! Ding! Ding! is the sound of every student’s phone with a notification alerting them of an email from Colorado State University’s President Tony Frank Sunday, September 30, 2018.

After attending CSU for four years, I assumed it was Tony Frank’s annual semester message. Although this was the case, President Tony Frank also announced he will be stepping down from his position on July 1, 2019.

Tony Frank has always presented himself as honest and authentic with the students, faculty, and alumni of CSU. Tony Frank exemplified authentic leadership, which prompts the questions: What is authentic leadership? How can you have a consistent and honest message?  How can your message be effective?  How do you decide what is the most effective way to deliver your message?

Authentic Leadership

Authenticity—including the ability to communicate authentically with others—has become an important leadership attribute. When leaders have it, they can inspire their followers to make extraordinary efforts. Dr. Frank signed each email “tony,” lower case — a simple gesture but one that reinforced his authenticity.

Here are a few helpful tips:

  1. Be open and honest with your audience
  2. Connect with your audience, put yourself in their shoes
  3. Be passionate about your topic
  4. Listen to your audience

Authentic speaking tends to include aspects of the personality that show up in private relationships, the ability to show elements of sensitivity and vulnerability, humor, and surprise. Be yourself.

Conveying an Effective Message

In order have an effective, consistent, and honest message it is important to:

  1. Stay on message: be clear about the message you are trying to convey to the other person or group. What do you most want them to understand?
  2. Respect Your Audience as You Respect Yourself: recognize that your message is not just about you or what you want. It is about “what’s in it for the audience.” 

Effective Delivery Choice

There is a general understanding that digital communication is powerful when it is determined to be the best mode of communication in a particular situation.

The benefits of using email to deliver an effective message include:

  1. Convenience: written digital communication offers an immediate method of expression, while also generating a record of the conversation for later reference. No more need to ask people to repeat themselves!
  1. Efficiency: email allows the individual to deliver their message instantaneously and is beneficial when the information needs to be distributed to a large number of people. After all, Tony Frank did have 33,000 plus individuals to address.

So, let that sound of the “ding” on your phone be a reminder to be an authentic person with a sincere message when promoting your personal brand or your corporate brand.

Kathryn leaning against an orange chair outsideKathryn Kudra, Intern

Kathryn is a proud Ram, and will genuinely miss emails from Tony Frank after she graduates this spring.

2018-10-11T11:01:23+00:00October 11th, 2018|