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Leadership Presents - Authentic Belonging

"True belonging is the spiritual practice of believing in and belonging to yourself so deeply that you can share your most authentic self with the world and find sacredness in both being a part of something and standing alone in the wilderness. True belonging doesn’t require you to change who you are; it requires you to be who you are.”

These are the brilliant words from Brené Brown in her book Braving the Wilderness. If you reflect on these words and ask yourself, where have I truly felt that I can truly belong? Maybe you can think of a few friends where you can be yourself. Maybe you can think of a club or activity space where you have this level of acceptance.

As leaders, one of the greatest gifts that we can give the members of our organisation, is that level of acceptance to truly be themselves. This is the second of our leadership presents

It starts with us

As leaders, there is so much shaping of our organisation’s culture that we bring. People look to the leader to see what the organisation stands for and what behaviour is ok to do to remain safe. So, if we want to give the gift of allowing people to be authentically them, then it starts with how we authentically accept ourselves. If we acknowledge our weaknesses and our strengths, then it makes it ok for them to do the same. If we acknowledge our mistakes and reflect on them and use them to develop ourselves, then it makes it ok for them to do the same. If we create a culture of learning rather than a binary pass/fail culture, then it makes it ok for them to do the same.

Authentic culture

It’s Christmas time, so amongst all of the Christmas lights and presents, there is the story of the nativity. One of the things that I like about the nativity story is that at the birth of Jesus, who Christians explain is God coming amongst us, we have everyday people, the shepherds turning up to the birth. No pretence, just down to earth shepherds. Later on, we have the wealthier wise men or Magi, also attend. There is a real sense of come as you are, rich or poor. Our ‘leadership present’ is to create that same culture whether rich or poor, whatever colour, gender or orientation, you are still accepted here. In fact you are encouraged to be you and bring your unique perspective.

Praise what we want to see

In simple terms, how do we go about creating this? As we said earlier it starts with us as the leader.

  • Model accepting ourselves, mistakes and all

  • Praise the unique contribution that someone brings

  • Help one another to see each other’s unique contributions

How does it help?

From a human perspective, to be accepted as you are, flaws and all, gives people a freedom to be and to grow. From an organisational perspective it allows people to live in a culture of its ok to be you and its ok to explore who you want to become. We also start to look at what unique perspective and influence each person can bring. We create a culture of contribution. You are you and you bring X. I am me and I bring Y. When we both bring our true selves, we end up with something bigger than ourselves and our organisation benefits as a result. We enable people to see how they are part of the jigsaw and bring a unique perspective. If we create a culture where we all have to fit in, we risk losing out on the unique perspective and skills someone brings. If we create a culture of authentic belonging then we encourage their unique contribution and we all grow as a result. What a win-win present!

Can we help you?

We hope this blog has been helpful and if you would like some more targeted support to explore how you create the right culture then Everyday Leader is here to help you. Our clients find their coaching empowering, as we help them gain a full perspective and find a way forward. If you have a challenge and you would like our support, then do get in contact with us. Give us a call on 01449 710438 or email if you would like us to help you explore this and empower you.


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