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Are you real and authentic in your interactions with others or are you behaving in a less impressive manner?
True to one's own personality, spirit, or character; worthy of acceptance or belief as conforming to or based on fact; conforming to an original so as to reproduce essential features; not false or imitation.

Have you watched reality TV? Most of those shows have little to do with reality and more to do with fake, plastic individuals.

"Fakes" show up in all areas—including leadership, sales, customer service, and personal relationships.

Here are some examples.

A colleague and I were discussing the lack of authenticity demonstrated by many sales professionals. For example, a copier sales rep might say, "I was just in the area and thought I would pop in to see if you had copier needs."

When my colleague recently overheard such a comment at his reception desk, he asked the sales rep to step into his office. Bob asked the rep how he planned to build credibility and earn his business if the first words out of his mouth were not authentic. In the end, the sales rep admitted he was visiting everyone in that area of his sales territory that day. My colleague suggested that the rep be truthful instead of resorting to a pathetic, unauthentic approach.

Years ago I attended a conference in Dallas where Zig Ziglar was speaking. I'm sorry, Zig, but 101 ways to close the sale is not being authentic. Whatever happened to being real—and simply and sincerely asking for the order instead of using "slick sales lines"? They don't work; people see right through them.

Leaders and team members need to be real, too. I've asked team members if everything was going well and they have said Yes—even when things were not! It may be politically correct to say everything is fine but it does not build credibility and trust.

By not being authentic or truthful—even in seemingly trivial issues, you are establishing a reputation for not being real. The fact is, I can no longer trust you. Based on this behavioral example, every time we talk I must determine if our interchange is real or fake because your responses are based on convenience or fear, not authenticity.

The attitude of "I did not want to make a fuss or hurt anyone's feelings" suggests lies are okay if you can justify them.

And we have all witnessed the suckup team member. Just thinking about that conduct turns my stomach.

Now I am not suggesting we become rude, mean-spirited individuals.

Quite the contrary.

What would it mean to your professional and personal relationships if you could count on everyone being real and authentic? Guessing, hidden meanings, and surprises such as staff suddenly quitting would no longer exist.

During my over 10,000 hours of business consulting and coaching, I cannot count all the times people have confided to me their true feelings about their job, workload, staff members, or supervisor. Yet in team meetings or interactions, they either stayed silent or said what the others wanted to hear.

Even some of the many consultants or coaches with whom I have worked would blow smoke to their client, rather than be real. That is professional incompetence. Unfortunately, they did not have the values or confidence to be authentic with their client.

Authenticity is critical. The best advisors tell the truth.

It does not matter what position or role you fulfill. In HR, trainers, supervisors, team members, and personal relationships, authenticity applies.

Suppose you are being real and you disagree with a decision or an organizational direction. Your objection does not result in changes. The point is, you were authentic!

What would others say about you?

Are you real and authentic in your interactions with others or are you behaving in a less impressive manner?

© Consulting Resource Group International, Inc.

All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Author Biography

Ken Keis
Web site: Consulting Resource Group
Ken Keis, MBA, CPC, is an internationally known author, speaker, and consultant. In the past 20 years, he has conducted over 2000 presentations including 10,000 hours of coaching and HR consulting.

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