What is the irresistible attraction of great business leaders?

Published in the Phoenix Business Journal on February 24, 2023

Be authentic. It is magnetic and attracts additional authentic people. The kinds of people we want as employees, customers, investors, suppliers, and community members. 

Authenticity inspires like-minded people. 

Shakespeare knew this when he wrote, “Above all, to your own self be true. And then as night follows day, you cannot be false to anyone.” 

Who are we, really?

How do we know when we are being authentic? We exist, think, speak, and act from our heart and soul – our true inner self. We show honesty and integrity. We are trusting and trustworthy. 

Often, it takes some courage to be authentic in business because we become vulnerable when we allow our often-protected inner self to be visible. But the rewards of being authentic can be enormous.

Authenticity does not answer the question of, “Who am I?” Authenticity affirms,  “Who I am.”

Will the real leaders please stand up

Authentic leaders share the risk and challenges with their teams. They “walk their talk:”

  • Warren Buffett invested 90% of his personal savings to start his top-performing investment company, Berkshire-Hathaway.
  • During a 1970 recession HP employees took a 10% pay cut – including cofounder Bill Hewlett.
  • In the early years of Charles Schwab & Co. the founder dropped everything to answer busy phone lines in customer service.
  • Sam Walton, Walmart founder, rented compact cars and checked into inexpensive hotels when traveling. Just like his employees.
  • When visiting McDonald’s restaurants, founder Ray Kroc picked up wastepaper in the parking lot to demonstrate that constant cleanliness is everyone’s job.

Authentic leaders do not wander off their walk. Not ever.

Open up

So, how do we become more authentic? Some common suggestions are: seek our inner voice and pay attention to it; match our thoughts, words, and actions at all times; daily meditation is a common practice; reflective journaling of our day; serving others; exercise; a good diet. Self-care.

Some symptoms of successful growth in authenticity include: developing a sixth sense, an intuitive knowing; increased interest in others; feeling grounded, even when stressed; feeling "goosebumps" when authentic others say something that resonates with us; more humor. And, it is easier for us to enroll others in our work.

The superficial can excite; the authentic can inspire.

The bottom lines

Be real. Authenticity attracts and inspires like-minded people. Great business leaders know and demonstrate this. Pay attention to your inner voice and amplify authenticity. Like attracts like. Build and lead authentic teams. Build good business.

Click here to read this article on the Phoenix Business Journal site.