Authentic leaders will...

Ido Singer is a brand new contributor to #alwaysbecontagious - he is a father, husband and basketball coach/trainer - his insights are fantastic!

Everybody these days seem to be talking about leadership. This elusive component in building a successful program, be it basketball, or any other professional environment, is as important as any other component, if not more important than all of them, which makes it one of the most sought after and hard to master skills around.

While leadership as a whole is an important part of building a winning culture, authentic leadership takes a step forward in creating and cultivating an honest, positive relationship between team members, and promotes openness and mutual respect. Authentic leaders cultivate an environment that fosters growth and communication, which leads to a mutual input built on an ethical foundation.

It’s the strength in the relationships themselves that allow a person to be an authentic leader. In today’s age of information, people refuse to be led by just anyone. They want to be motivated and guided, but also, and perhaps more importantly, they want to be listened to and respected. A leader that leads with authenticity will find a way to include those they lead in the process and take in their input and ideas. Authentic leaders recognize that growth taking place among those they lead will result in their own personal growth.

It is very easy to spot those who are authentic from those who truly are not.

Authentic Leaders will

Ask meaningful questions, actively listen, act upon responses with selfless intent. Authentic Leaders truly want to know how to help the people they lead.

Cultivate strong, meaningful relationships based upon mutual respect and a strong, two-way stream of communication. Authentic leaders are open to ideas.

Be honest and spend the time needed to gain the trust of those they lead in order to earn the right to be honest with them. Trust takes time. They will earn their trust.

Recognize that they can gain just as much from those they lead and they gain from them, and they will take advantage of learning opportunities constantly. They are humble.

Honestly enjoy people, interacting with them and recognize that each individual has something to contribute and can be learned from. Their interactions are simply authentic.

See everything as an opportunity.

Fake leaders won’t

Listen with an honest intent to help. Instead they will favor immediate results over long term gain, regardless of what is best for the person they lead.

Spend time getting to truly know those they lead. People are used as tools for the Fake Leader’s personal gain, as they avoid anything but a surface-level relationship.

Spend that time. Fake Leaders believe that those they lead must blindly trust them. They believe in leadership being an autonomy and keep those they lead in the dark.

Recognize that Fake Leaders will come in with all the answers even before questions are asked and offer their input without truly getting to know who they are “helping”.

Match what they say and what they do. Lack of personal accountability due to lack of proper respect for the individual they are leading is evident.

See far enough into the future to see the opportunity.

It is quite rare to have the privilege to be lead by someone who is authentic. During the WBCA Convention in Indiana in April of 2016, I have witnessed first hand an authentic leader at work. Coach Hernando Planells was able to lead various groups of his peers through a series of exercises geared towards promoting an open dialog through listening with intent, sharing powerful personal stories, promoting honest with oneself, and cultivating an atmosphere conducive to openness and laughter.

Coach Planells seemed to have gained as much from his workshops as us participants did, and believe me when I say that we have gained so much. So much has been said about the powerful of real, authentic relationships. Relationships that are built on equality and trust, mutual respect and mutual growth. I see so much authenticity in coach Planells and his intent of building multiple relationships that are authentic in that way.

It takes hard work, a constant self-evaluation process, and a true love for what you do and who you work for to become an authentic person and leader. I am glad to say I know at least one person who fits this bill.

-Ido Singer.

IdoBasketball is an elite basketball training company that was created with one specific training goal in mind - Improving basketball footwork. From youth basketball through high school, AAU, college and the professional level, IdoBasketball specializes in footwork-specific basketball drills geared towards helping you become the best player you can be, improving one of the most important acquired aspects of your basketball skill-set, and the improvement of it, which you have full control over.