• Julia Ofner

AL #1. Authenticity & Leadership

Updated: Jun 20

Authentic leadership communication in global business

People are tired of air-brushed leaders sitting on their high horses of ego-management. Authentic communication is key and actually the bridge for an inspired team & healthy business environment. Leading and connecting people globally is a completely new challenge due to our global diversity; culture, gender, and local distance, and communicative bias that absolutely demand effective global leadership communication. Today’s highly remote diverse global environment is inspired by real people who are honest, direct, and brave rolling up their sleeves and putting on hands where they are needed. Employees want leaders they can connect with and trust, who understand & see them as individuals. However, authenticity patterns differ from continent and country. Indeed, the global environment strives for leaders able to decode & code messages with cultural awareness, flexibility, and agility. Easier said than done, global business relationships are complex and very often highly delicate and require focused sensitivity, intuition, and tact.

I believe that authenticity can be learned but nevertheless, it is a life-long journey of personal development crafting emotional, non-verbal & verbal communication skills brick by brick on the foundation of honesty. Working on my authentic leadership skills has been a stony adventure of many many years of patient dedication to self-growth. First BECOME, then BE, and finally SHARE; was always my approach as a teacher, coach, and trainer. Those who know me: "I authentically practice what I teach, preach, and, say". My key driver has always been to grow as a person as quickly as possible to connect from heart & soul with people to help them transform. Knowing perfectly the stony path to go, I enjoy being part of the transformation of humans into authentic leaders, speaking up and communicating their minds & souls when the"TIME TO SHINE" has come. Please note, your leadership style isn’t fixed or pre-defined just like your global communication skills are modifying constantly. Fact is, it is a flexible holistic system you are developing intrinsically & extrinsically, a simultaneous process of change & growth. At the core of your authentic leadership development is always self-awareness & self-reflection. Working with a cross-cultural communication coach accelerates this learning & developing process, fine-tunes, and elaborates your global voice as an authentic leader while receiving feedback & soft skills in a safe environment.

What do I know so far?

In truth, the jagged key to authenticity is finding out who you really are, getting to know yourself with the smart goal to look one day into the "mirror of truth" and tell the person whose big eyes you gaze at deeply: "Yep, I think I know you well." On your exciting learning journey, continuous feedback is essential to make you fully aware of character traits, personal idiosyncrasies, strengths and weaknesses; and most important blocks. Believe me, you have to tackle this daunting challenge of understanding & changing slowly, keep going and travel your journey with bravery, courage, and fun.

The pre-condition of an authentic life is to avoid the“herding animal morality"and having no fear of leaving comfort-zones, living may solitude until "the authentic" finds you and fits perfectly into your life.

Over and above, I am absolutely convinced that the vital pre-condition of an authentic life is to avoid the“herding animal morality". Then do not be scared to leave your comfort zones and may experience solitude. Fact is, to stand alone in the rain, singular but strong & original enough to initiate opposite estimates of value in order to shape new beliefs, challenges the status quo always. Erich Fromm thus considers"authenticity to be a positive outcome of informed and enlightened motivation rather than a negative outcome of rejection of the expectations of others."(Fromm. Erich. Escape from Freedom (1941). Farrar & Rinehart)

Living up to border-crossing expectations of others or compromising with bad values or high-ego/low-victim personalities may be the most challenging stone on the journey of authenticity. However, the most crucial but rather intuitive treasure is, to know when it is time to say goodbye to stones that are blocking your life. The truth is, letting go of habits/things/people is part of an abundant & authentic life. But change is tough and uncomfortable, at least for our brains. Fact is, comfort zones such as unhealthy relationships, unhappy marriages, bad habits, or toxic work environments are still preferred by most people scared to death of change. No one said it is easy taking bold decisions in favor of authentic connections, DNA health, heart-based happiness & real success nevertheless they are the keys & drivers of an authentic and abundant life. Empower yourself and make sure that your inside & outside system is just as authentic & healthy as you deserve it. The imperative question here is: Does your life already mirror your authentic self through real relationships you connect with. Do you communicate in flow while feeling free of any kind of judgment? Brené Brown, best-seller author emphasized clearly: "Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of what we think we are supposed to be in order to embrace who we really are and want to be ."


A BIG concept with profound complexity?

Has"authentic" become the new "sexy"? Unfortunately, you cant´ fake it, until you make it.

"Authentic leaders are magnetic. Authentic leaders are rare."

Let us clarify, the meaning of the concept: Authenticity means you're true to your own personality, values, spirit, and words regardless of the pressure that you're under to act otherwise. You're honest with yourself and with others, and you take full responsibility for your actions or mistakes. An authentic person communicates what has to be said, making a bold move when the moment has come. May the biggest obstacle to authentic communication that blocks most people is: How do I communicate messages authentically? Fact is, authentic communication can be learned but be aware your cultural background and environment are influencing your learning journey. As Simon Sinek said: "Authenticity is about imperfection." What is more, to lead an authentic life means you practice what you say, an absolutely coherent way of aligning your actions with your words and most important with your heart. WOW, that is powerful! So how aligned are your words with your heart?

Standing alone strong, singular but original enough to initiate opposite estimates of value in order to shape new beliefs, does challenge the status quo always. - Julia Ofner-

3 key questions for an authentic leadership identity?

  1. What is it to be yourself?

  2. What is it to be one with oneself?

  3. How is it to truly represent yourself?

The puzzle that arises in conjunction with the conception of authenticity is that on the one hand, being oneself is inescapable. But on the other hand, we are sometimes inclined to say that some of the decisions or actions that we have to undertake are not really one’s own and are therefore not genuinely expressive of who one is. Of course, in business authenticity is a shiny leadership skill but not always a possible reality. May we flag up transparency and vulnerability as 2 main characteristics of authenticity. Now the bold question arises: Are vulnerability and transparency truly depicting our global business reality of rather strategic and well-crafted messages guided by smart goals and guidelines? Authentic global leadership may need a new alignment to our fast-paced and diverse global environment. As a matter of fact, authentic leadership is an absolutely powerful leadership style very useful to impact on people and organizations. From leader to leader, trust is the key ingredient and the baseline of any productive dialogue and successful business relationship. However, here I have to outline, trust management is not successful when only build on authenticity, it is rather a complex combination of different styles used skillfully and talented. In a nutshell, authentic leadership is a solid ground for growing a good leader but may be even more important for growing a solid, abundant, and happy life.

"The journey of authenticity is a life-long-stony path of deep aware reflection, honest heart-based communication & the desire to make an impact on people & the world. Authenticity is BOLD LEADERSHIP." - Julia Ofner -

Global players & transformational systems are being challenged nowadays. Authentic & heart-based cross-cultural leadership communication is the path toward inspired and motivated individuals, teams, and organisations. At, we individuals & global teams to become the best versions of themselves as leaders and communicators to connect & impact around the world. Contact us we design your personalised solution for human & organisational transformation, cross-cultural English communication & global team alignment.


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