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We all know how important it is to be an effective communicator in today’s chaotic workplace.  Effective communicators are able to share information and ideas clearly and succinctly. They are also able to untangle ambiguous or mixed messages by knowing how to listen and ask strong questions when information is not forthcoming.

But one of the best skills all effective communicators posses is the ability to be authentic. 

Today – while we navigate back-to-back meetings, work remotely, communicate with multiple devices, etc. – people need assurance that they are working with a “real person;” a person who is mindful, conscientious and genuine.

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Authenticity and Gender Stereotyping

I recently had the honor of co-delivering my “Chaos to Clarity” lunch-n-learn presentation with a dear friend and fellow communications professional, Nancy Tao, to the Popeyes Women’s Leadership Forum.  This is a fabulous group that fosters leadership development of female Popeyes’ employees.

During the presentation, we talked about the importance of authenticity and gender stereotyping.  We cited a Harvard Business Review article with research confirming that gender stereotyping makes it difficult for female leaders to be commanding because “they are perceived as either competent or liked — but rarely both.”

The authors suggest the way for women to overcome this stereotyping is to be authentic. “Women don’t need to imitate men in order to be persuasive and authoritative, they simply need to be authentic.”

They go on to state that women must “remain true to their own leadership style. The skills that many women bring to business naturally — a collaborative style, a talent for listening, and a natural ability to manage interpersonal relationships — are some of the aptitudes that all leaders need now and in the future.”

We wholeheartedly agree with this, whether you are male or female, a mid-level manager, an executive or an entry-level professional.

So, are you being true to your authentic self?  And more importantly: Are you displaying that authenticity through your words and actions at every occasion?

I invite your comments and discussions.

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