Sales Skills

Six Characteristics of Authenticity – Your Bravest Quality

At a recent workshop, Ed Wallace, author of Business Relationships that Last, conveyed that relational capital is built when you approach a client with “integrity, credibility, and authenticity.”  Authenticity is defined as “not false, genuine, real,” and people who are considered authentic demonstrate their sincerity by matching their actions to their words.  In other words, authentic people practice what they preach.

Yet what does this mean, really?  Authenticity enables you to connect deeply with others.  Being authentic energizes you!  The reason authenticity is an element of relational capital is because you, your clients, prospective clients, centers of influence and co-workers must connect with you.  Otherwise, you’ll never reach a full potential relationship with them.  As Helen Keller said, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”

Obviously, hiding behind a mask, pretending to be someone you’re not makes you inauthentic.  Inauthentic people stand to lose trust, credibility, intimacy, and integrity because they breed fear, uncertainty and fatigue.

Authenticity, on the other hand, leads to:

  • Business growth
  • Happy, satisfied, loyal clients
  • An abundance of opportunities
  • Better communication, collaboration, and support from colleagues

Being authentic, therefore, is critical to your success.

In A Multicomponent Conceptualization of Authenticity: Theory And Research,researchers Michael Kernis and Brian Goldman define authenticity as “the unimpeded operation of one’s true or core self in one’s daily enterprise.”  They evidenced that authentic people display the following traits:

  1. Self-awareness – authentic people accept their strengths and weaknesses without blaming others. They are accountable, connected to their values, and act deliberately.  They make decisions easily by embracing their talents and abilities.  They are willing to make unpopular decisions in order to live open, honest, engaged lives.
  2. Vulnerability – authentic people open themselves to fears and failures in an attempt to learn and grow. Rather than protecting themselves, they connect with others at a deeply vulnerable position.  They are readily able to admit they are failing.  They are emotionally stable and don’t crumble in the face of negative feedback.  They put themselves at risk in the way they communicate and interact with others.
  3. Share “true self” with others – authentic people constantly share their true thoughts, beliefs, and opinions. They often ponder their perspective on life and the experiences that led them there. Then they share this “true self” freely with those around them, and in doing so, build a unique brand in the marketplace.
  4. Gratitude – authentic people focus on giving, but are also comfortable receiving. They give and receive without having a hidden agenda.  They give praise, appreciation, and acknowledgement out of sheer delight that someone did well.
  5. Listen – authentic people focus intently on listening, are fully present, and are not easily distracted during a conversation  They are genuinely interested in what the other person is saying.  They display a purity of intent with their interactions and conversations, and realize that listening is done with the intention of seeing the world through another’s eyes.
  6. Purpose, Passion, and Values – authentic people have developed informed ideas about things they care about – their purpose, passion, and values. They don’t adopt them from someone else.  They proactively live out of their values, represent them to the world, and show passion about them.

The research also discovered that authentic people feel better, are healthier and more resilient, and less likely to turn to self-destructive habits.  Because they practice self-awareness, they are more purposeful in their choices and more likely to achieve their goals.

Being authentic is less about what you are doing. Rather, about who you are being.

How will you be authentic today and move your business forward?