Be authentic. Be yourself. Pretending to be someone else is tiring, underwhelming, and a cop-out.
When it comes to leadership, selling, relationships and pretty much your whole life, being honest with yourself and the world about who you are and what you believe in may not win you an endless supply of friends and admirers but, it does mean that those who respect and like you do so because of the real you. By living with authenticity and being honest with your opinions, people gain the surety that a relationship with you will be mutually beneficial.
Of course, being authentic starts with your own core values. Are you aware of them? Have you ever considered them? If you can get clarity on what is important to you and in which direction your moral compass points, you are more likely to construct a life that you enjoy, full of meaning and happiness. And that's attractive! You will naturally inspire others and, in doing so, increase your chances of being a successful leader within your business.
Not everyone will like the real you, and that's OK. That's the whole point! Don't allow a (perfectly natural) fear of rejection to stop you from showing your authentic self to the world. Changing your behaviour to comply with what you *think* people want to see and hear is draining, and keeping up this 'mask' will ultimately cost you somehow.
I am not pretending it is easy to be authentic, by the way. It isn't. We are wired to want to be liked, and it is human nature to seek approval from others. We have deep social roots, and our ancestors needed to form communities to survive. Social media probably hasn't helped reduce our need to be liked, either! The feel-good factor of 'Likes' is already well documented but if you can develop the skills and systems to 'Like' yourself without approval from others, you become more self-sufficient, happier, and healthier.
The notion of 'authentic leadership' is becoming increasingly popular. Profit and sales targets are critically important in many businesses, but simply shouting about them won't get the buy-in from your colleagues in the same way that 'authentic leadership' will. By openly displaying your values, building quality relationships, being approachable, remaining coachable and really living with a sense of purpose will naturally improve the culture within your business.
And as we all know, deep down; Culture eats strategy for breakfast. Every. Single. Time.
Be authentically YOU!