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Why Being Authentic Is the Best Lesson I've Ever Learnt

14/07/2014 09:03 BST | Updated 12/09/2014 10:59 BST

Some lessons in life can be learnt simply.

Last week I met Sir Dave Brailsford, the man credited with transforming Great Britain's cycling fortunes, team principle of Sky Pro Cycling and described as the 'greatest leader in British sport history.'

A few days earlier I'd seen Brailsford at the Grand Depart of the Tour de France in Leeds happily posing for photos with cycling fans and chatting away to pretty much anyone who wanted to talk.

You'd never have known he was about to play a lead role in one of the most intensely bonkers sporting events on the planet. As I studied him, I wanted to know what made him tick and what I could learn.

Fast-forward two days and the Tour de France had arrived in London, and my life had changed. I'd been keeping it secret from pretty much everyone, but I'd been made editor-in-chief of this website.

Ever since I was a schoolboy on work experience at my local newspaper, the Basingstoke Gazette, I'd dreamed of being a journalist and editor of a national newspaper.

The world has changed a lot since those days and newspapers aren't what they once were. But one thing that has remained constant; being a great leader is one of the most valuable things any boss can be to his or her staff.

So when I saw Dave Brailsford after the London leg of Le Tour I made sure I grabbed him for some advice. 'What makes a good leader?' I asked.

After taking a moment to congratulate me on my promotion he paused, looked at me and said: 'Be authentic'. It was that simple.

That one piece of advice has stuck with me all week. As I sit here on day one of my new job I will keep the 'A' word in my mind. I've even written 'Be authentic' on a post-it note and stuck it on my monitor.

And when I'm not following the advice of being an authentic leader I'll trust my staff and bosses to remind me of this blog, grab that post-it note and stick it on my forehead so I never, ever forget.