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An oversimplified understanding of what it means to be transparent can prevent your growth and limit your influence. When we feel out of our comfort zone, we can often use authenticity as an excuse for sticking with what's comfortable.
For example, a promotion into a leadership role can leave you feeling unsure of yourself. If you believe in superficial transparency, you may disclose all your insecurities to your company, and in the process, lose credibility with people.
There are two ways in which leaders develop their personal styles:
Leadership growth usually means shifting from having good ideas to pitching them to diverse stakeholders. Inexperienced leaders, especially true-to-selfers, often find the process of getting buy-in artificial and political because they think their work should stand on its own merits.
Until we see growth as a way of extending our reach and increasing our impact, we will have trouble feeling authentic when expressing our strengths to influential people.
Negative feedback given to leaders is often about style and not about their skills or expertise. Negative feedback can then feel like a threat to their ability.
However, if they rationalize their behaviour and think their style is unchangeable, it may eventually lead to their undoing.
Without the benefit of an external perspective we get from experimenting with new leadership behaviours, habitual patterns of thought fence us in.
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