191 How to Build Yourself as an Authentic Leader with Henna Inam

191 How to Build Yourself as an Authentic Leader with Henna Inam

how to build yourself as an authentic leader

What is an authentic leader? A leader is measured by how well they manage a team. But a great leader is measured by how they communicate, motivate, and respect themselves and the rest of the team. Join us as Henna Inam talks about her struggles with authenticity as a female leader, how she overcame them, and what you can do to start practicing authentic leadership yourself!

Developing the Skills to Be a Successful Leader

It’s true that being an authentic leader has several challenges and requires a lot of effort. As the world changes, so do the need for leaders to evolve their qualities and leadership style.

Henna shares her journey with authenticity in a male-dominated environment. Regardless of your stand in life, she explains that great leadership fruits from consistent practices, rather than developing fixed qualities.

But what does it mean for us?

We must constantly improve our skills through practice, as this allows us to grow. In other words, a successful leader is not born, but rather made through experience and learning.

Even if you fall now and then, you can always learn from your failure, stand, and keep going. The same goes with leadership. It’s all about ongoing improvement through consistent practice.

Henna’s Seven Practices That Lead to Authentic Leadership

leadership skills written on chalkboard

In the modern-day, it’s a challenge to be one of the authentic leaders out there! Given the ever-increasing pace of change and constant shifting of power dynamics, many would instead follow than lead.

Henna Inam shares her seven practices that can help you become a more authentic leader:

1) Get to know your body

The first step to authenticity is understanding how “physically” respond to different circumstances.

It focuses on being in touch with your five senses and getting a better grasp of what message your body is trying to send you. This way, it’ll be easier for you to make decisions before acting something out.

2) Keep an Open Mind and Stay Curious

It’s essential to be curious and explore different viewpoints. If you’re constantly focusing on a single mindset or think you know everything, it’ll be difficult for you to see things from a different perspective.

Doing so allows you to be more patient and understand different people’s views, which will help you build trust and weight in your options.

3) Learn to Let Go

Henna argues that you must let go of the characteristics you don’t possess, but believe, and accept the things that you can honestly do and achieve.

Whether it’s a person, a situation, or an object, holding on to something too tightly will only result in pain. Even Henna herself has many lists that she needs to let go of.

4) Give Yourself An A!

According to Henna, the A stands for acceptance. So this phase is about fully accepting and appreciating oneself, including your flaws!

Acceptance will serve as your starting point for creating something that aligns with your values.

female leader presenting to the entire organization

5) Internalized Moral Perspective

Decide who you want to be, how you want to show up in the world, and taking steps to bring it to life will make you an authentic leader!

But it doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a lifelong journey that requires continuous effort and growth that can give you greater flexibility while staying in line with your personal values and purpose.

6) Face Your (Internal) Dragon

Have you heard about that voice in your head that tells you, “you’re not good enough?”

This is usually the voice of self-doubt that holds you back from taking risks and going after your dreams. To silence this voice, you need to actively choose to confront your concerns, even if it won’t always go as planned.

Henna added that when it comes to coming head-to-head with these doubts and worries, you should have the courage to face them.

7) Dance With The Dream

The final step is to focus on living a life in line with your values and purpose. This means creating a lifestyle and business in sync.

It can be easy to get caught up in the hustle and grind of everyday life, but it’s essential to take a step back and find your sense of purpose. Once you find your pace, you’ll start feeling job satisfaction and better emotions in the workplace.

being fully present for authentic leadership

self-aware woman meditating

The authentic leadership theory emphasizes that successful leaders are those perceived as genuine and truthful. And improving your self-awareness is one of the most effective methods to attain this leadership style.

Henna believes it’s even more important to be physically present, especially today, as people are more distracted in a fast-changing environment.

Her personal experience suggests that effective leadership skills come from being fully present, and practicing mindfulness can help you develop better self-awareness. And by being more self-aware, your body can bring the same feeling to any given situation.

As a result, you can operate more efficiently, make better decisions, and keep a better handle on your emotions.

Practice Authentic Leadership with a Buddy

Henna describes a 52-week course in which participants receive one brief practice per week to help develop self-awareness, which she believes is the cornerstone of true and ethical leadership.

Remember, before you lead other people, you must govern yourself first.

She suggests finding an exercise partner or community to work with while going through the practices. Having more people to practice with allows each individual to learn and teach those around them.

It also gives your organization a common language and practice to help you understand and get to know each other better. After all, Henna’s personal belief is that using work for self-reflection is an opportunity for growth.

Strategies for Effective Team Communication in the Workplace

female leader encourages the team's ability for authentic behavior.

An important leadership skill is the ability to communicate with your team. Without adequate team communication and personal connection, conflict will always arise, making authentic leadership important to sustaining workplace harmony.

Here are a few of Henna’s tips for being more self-aware and improving communication within your team:

Practice with your group

When you practice authentic leadership as a team, you’ll be more likely to understand your colleagues and how they work.

Being self-aware is one step toward establishing authentic leadership characteristics, but putting them into practice with your team is another. As a result, working on it together strengthens everyone involved.

Obtain Accurate Feedback

Establishing formal relationships in an organization prevents touching on personal topics or giving honest opinions. This may make it difficult for you to exhibit sympathy to your coworkers.

But if you’re working on implementing a moral perspective in a workplace, asking for feedback is a good way to introduce openness within your team and make room for development.

The Practice of Mindfulness

Henna considers mindfulness the best practice for increasing self-awareness.

Mindfulness teaches you to be aware of your bad and good qualities, and how your actions influence others without harsh judgment.

It also allows you to have a clear and concise mind, preventing cloudy judgment during important decisions and improving your characteristics.

Henna's Authenticity and Female Leadership Challenges

Female leaders sharing life experiences and their life story.

According to Henna, female leaders tend to think they should be acting a certain way to be seen as professional and promotable, particularly in male-dominated cultures.

While they try to emulate the behavior of a male leader, people have different perceptions of a good leader and a female leader.

Women walk a thin line of balancing collaboration and assertion to be perceived as good leaders. But being an authentic leader reflects the culture of your organization.

Establishing an authentic leadership style lets female leaders leave more significant impressions on their power.




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