Don't Just Try to Fake It - My Advice to Politicians Is to Be Genuinely Authentic

Don't Just Try to Fake It - My Advice to Politicians Is to Be Genuinely Authentic

I was listening to the commentators discussing Jeremy Corbyn's win of the leadership of the Labour party on the radio this morning. Does this mean a shift in the country's politics? Is there a new centre ground? These are the questions being asked.

What is not being said is that actually people vote for people they perceive as authentic.

It's not just what you say but how you say it. The truth is that if Ed Miliband had been perceived as authentic he may even have won the last election. But he was seen as trying to create an image of himself that masked who he really was. Remember the two kitchens and the bacon sandwich, and how those stories were presented. It wasn't his policies that lost him the last election.

On the whole we don't like or trust people who come across to us as phony and false and not surprisingly we are disinclined to vote for them. So it is that we put politicians under the microscope of authenticity.

Since his rise to the leadership of the Labour party Jeremy Corbyn has been seen by his supporters as offering an authentic voice that challenges an inward looking and self-serving establishment.

Ironically, politicians who do understand the power of authenticity often seem to think that faking it is the best way forward.

But no matter how much you try to fake authenticity on the outside by how you smile, shake hands, tell stories of meeting other 'real' people, if you are not authentic on the inside other people will eventually see through the façade.

What we then see are people who are self-deceptive and unrealistic in their perceptions of reality, judgemental of other people, unable to express their emotions freely and clearly, not open to learning from their mistakes, and who do not understand their own motivations.

To be authentic you really have to know yourself.

Knowing yourself means that you are genuinely open to learning and developing as a person. You become aware of your own emotions, more comfortable letting them act as your compass point, and genuinely empathic to others. You have realistic perceptions of reality, are accepting of other people, thoughtful, able to express your emotions freely and clearly, open to learning from mistakes, and able to understand your motivations.

Find out more about authenticity in my book Authentic. How to be yourself and why it matters


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