Small Business

Mike Tasevski serves on the Advisory Board for The Scotiabank Woman Initiative and is the Vice President of Global Sponsorship at Scotiabank. In this video, Mike talks to Deborah Moore from Halia Consulting. Debra is a leadership and productivity coach, and what that really means is that she helps people, she guides people to achieve their goals and overcome challenges within their personal and professional lives. But lately, she noticed a lot more women coming to her for advice. 

A big part of Deborah’s practice is working with women to become inspiring leaders. She came into coaching on an unusual path, combining marketing and strategic development business experience with over 10 years of coaching high-performance Ironman athletes and racing in Ironmans herself. This brings a unique perspective to coaching and that she shares some of those unique ideas here.

If you look at today's current environment, there is a spotlight on navigating challenges in circumstances that have been affecting many of the people. And when you look at leaders today, this environment has really put a focus on what they can do and how they react or deal with these challenging situations. The one thing you can always count on is being an authentic leader.

What is Authentic Leadership?

Authentic Leadership speaks to retaining your core values, your guiding principles and sticking to them in the way you operate at work and the way that you engage with people. It’s about making sure that you are true to what feels honest to you and what maintains your integrity. It’s about how you present yourself to the world and how you behave in the workplace or in your personal life. Mike says that he has lived this mantra his whole life and focused on showing up the same way − every day.

A lot of people try to adapt for a situation. They feel like they need to be forceful in a situation or like they need to conform to the environment. It’s almost like they want to shape themselves for every situation. But when you look at Authentic Leadership, you are who you are. Part of it can be learned, but you can pick up things that you have seen in a role model and mirror those things. You can bring those things into your own authenticity.

“Change what's going on inside of you and the world outside of you will change in a positive direction.” – a mantra that Mike lives by. You're trying to drive positive thought, day in-day out, in everything that you do, not only in the leadership that you drive, but also in the way you conduct yourself − personally and in business. Remember, there’s obviously a lot of change going on around you, but you can only control how you react to that change. If you bring your true self to the situation, you’re going to do your best at affecting the change.

Are women business leaders set up to be Authentic Leaders?

One of the things that has come out of a lot of research (or even anecdotally or by observation), is that women are actually fearful of being authentic. Deborah says that there's been such a long history of a lack of opportunity for women, or gender bias in the workplace, and so women feel like they need to catch up and be somebody else. Or try to be like the other leaders that they see around them in order to get ahead.

So they show up with lots of drive and passion but perhaps it is manifested in the wrong way because of that fear. They think, “If I don’t behave in this way, I just won’t make it.” So, they’ve got to be even more aggressive. When in fact they’re trying to make up for the lack of opportunity by changing themselves and losing the authenticity that is really true inside them.

What are the key attributes of Authentic Leadership?

  1. Be empathetic by connecting with people and encouraging communication. Without empathy, you cannot connect with people, you won’t get the best out of them. You won’t get what you need and it will be much harder to get things done.
  2. Be self-aware and be clear about who you are.
  3. Reflect on your past experiences, what has worked for you, what hasn’t, what you want from your leadership, what you want from your organization, from your group.
  4. Know your drive, your guiding principles and your core values.
  5. Stay on your mission path: The Why at the center of what you do, the center of your motivation.
  6. In any organization, you need people to get things done, whether they are internal or external partners.
  7. Adaptability and the ability to be in it for the long run: this comes from being able to pivot. People are looking to you for guidance, which is what leadership really is about. It’s about guidance, not about ruling.

It’s encouraging that women tend to over index in these areas, while at the same time men are shifting more toward these attributes.

Watch the entire conversation to understand how authenticity can give rise to exceptional leadership.