How To Be An Authentic Recognition Leader

If there is one thing I’ve learned about giving meaningful and effective recognition to others, is the fact that it must be authentic. Both the recognition and the giver must be real. 

Imagine the positive influence that can come when a people-leader has learned to be authentic as an individual and a recognizer of others.

Let’s explore how a leader can become authentic and a real recognition giver, too.

What Is An Authentic Leader?

Authentic leadership is an approach to leadership that emphasizes building the leader’s legitimacy through honest relationships with followers who value their input and are built on an ethical foundation. You find authentic leaders are genuinely positive people with a healthy and truthful self-concept who promote openness, dialogue, inclusivity and equality.  

What Is Authentic Recognition? 

Authentic recognition is all about appreciating people for who they are independent of any work or performance. It is also about recognizing people for all that they do that makes a difference to others. 

How Can a Leader Become Authentic? 

Most authentic leaders have gone through their own personal evolution to manifest authenticity. However, if you have the desire to be a genuine leader, you will need to learn, practice, and apply daily these following attributes and characteristics. 

  • They have a greater sense of self-awareness. They will assess and identify their strengths and weaknesses and not pretend to be something they are not. Authentic leaders know how and when to use their strengths and know how to compensate for areas of weakness. 
  • They have a foundation of personal values. You will know where they stand because they have stated what they believe in and what is important to them. You’ll see how they are consistent with these values and you know they will be true to themselves. 
  • They have a great support team to draw on. Their authenticity proven over time allows them to have a strong rapport with similar minded people. They have a team of people and contacts that will do the right things for the right reasons for such a leader.
  • They are developers and mentors of others. It is important to them to stretch the capacities of the people who work for them. They will give goals and tasks that cause their direct reports and staff to learn and grow. They are not afraid to provide needed mentorship along the way. 
  • They are open communicators with everyone. It is important to be brutally honest with everyone, even if not all people will appreciate it. You’ll find that they are fair and respect everyone by listening to their point of view. It leaves them making the hard decisions. 
  • They are inspiring and visionary leaders. It is easy for them to give hope to others and a picture of the future. They have taken time and effort to collaborate with others in creating plans. They are cautious with the decision they make while taking optimistic risks.
  • They are known for their care of other people. They show care and concern for all employees with whatever is affecting them. You’ll see them engaging staff wherever they can around the organization or by reaching out to them to get their input before deciding on matters.

How Do You Give Authentic Recognition? 

Not all recognition is alike as many employees can tell you. There’s the trite “good job” expressions and the attempts at recognition that makes you wonder what the person wants next. Check out these characteristics of authentic recognition.

  • Authentic recognition comes from the heart of a leader. It’s true that authentic, or real, recognition comes from leaders who lead from their hearts and their minds. You find authentic recognition is a felt experience, and both the giver and the receiver feel it.
  • Authentic recognition happens because leaders listen. They are active listeners to what employees are sharing about their work, things they like to work on, and career goals they have. Authentic recognition picks up on the little things happening.
  • Authentic recognition is positive and unmistakable. You’ll never have to question the genuineness of the recognition received. The recognition of what you did is super clear and specific. You’ll also hear them say how proud they are of you and what they appreciate most.
  • Authentic recognition carries a unique message with it. Somehow these authentic leaders have learned about the effort, time, and sacrifice you’ve put into the task they recognized. And they also found out the impact your actions made on employees or customers. 
  • Authentic recognition givers seem amazingly consistent. Yes, these authentic recognizers find time and ways to connect with those they work with regularly. They know that the more often they communicate with the people they work with, the more insights they’ll have of what to recognize. 
  • Authentic recognition is heartfelt and sincere. An authentic leader takes recognition to be a serious matter. They are forthright and candid with their feedback because they know it can lift people up in their work and morale. They express recognition the way it should be without pretense. 
  • Authentic recognition is a timely investment. Those who give authentic recognition know they should recognize as soon as possible in a timely manner. Which means leaders invest their time wisely in people first by showing them how much they value and appreciate them.  

Authentic recognition leaders are true to themselves in their thoughts, in their words, and in their actions. Which makes authentic recognition a natural outgrowth from authentic leaders. 

Recognition Reflection: In what ways do authentic leaders show authentic recognition where you work?

Roy is no longer writing new content for this site (he has retired!), but you can subscribe to Engage2Excel’s blog as Engage2Excel will be taking Roy’s place writing about similar topics on employee recognition and retention, leadership and strategy.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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