Bernie Anderson
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the blog

Current musings, whatever they may be. 

Genuine Care: 3 Commandments for Authenticity

Someone paid me a kind, encouraging, unsolicited compliment today.

"There is an authentic care that you have about each (client) you work with. "

I couldn't be happier to have this said about me. Actually caring about people is important - and is an area where I want ongoing growth.

Because, while what said about me may be true in one area, I know it's not always true in others. Compliments and criticism should produce the same results. Get better.

I am thinking of three ways to get better at genuinely caring about people. These are the three commandments of authenticity.

Respond to internal expectations more than external expectations

Authenticity is about being true to your genuine self. But there is a problem. We can't be authentic to ourselves if we don't know who we are. What are the things that are important to us? What is it that keeps you up at night? How do you want to leverage your time, talents, and resources to change the world? Authentic people respond to internal motivation, rather than what's expected of them from the outside world. Mine your feelings, goals, and expectations. Understand them. Respond accordingly.

Admit your own faults

Authenticity flows from the ability to admit your wrong. Failure is not the final setback. Failure is the way forward. So authentic people fail early and fail fast - and learn. Take responsibility and ownership of your actions - and fess up when you're wrong. Leaders who do this create humility in themselves and trust in others.

Do not be judgmental of others

While admitting your own faults, never play up the faults of others. Never throw them under the bus to save your own skin. When leaders understand the complexity of being human, it's easier to have conversations with people who may need to hear the hard thing. Most won't listen when yelling and reigning down fire and brimstone on them. So, don't throw your neighbor under the bus, lest you be dragged under, as well. Leaders with authenticity are slow to judge others - and quick to admit their own faults.

A friend recently asked me, "What would you like said at your funeral?"

It's a hard question, and I frankly didn't have a great answer at the moment. (I think I made up some blather about something, but I'm sure it wasn't all that impressive.)

Now I do.

I want it to be said that I cared for others with authenticity and that I loved well.

If I can live my life to that end, it is enough.