When I think about what it means to be a leader, two things immediately come to mind: authenticity and confidence. Leaders who are unafraid to be their true selves inspire a workplace culture that celebrates inclusivity and is grounded in shared values.
Translating those values to products, campaigns and partnerships is key for building consumer trust and creating meaningful social change.
That’s why it’s striking to see growing doubts about the role that authenticity can truly play at work. In March, CNBC reported that 44% of workers globally are contemplating quitting their jobs. These figures are even worse for Gen Z with Business Insider confirming that 65% of Gen Zers plan to leave their jobs this year.
Across the globe, people are experiencing a lack of passion, purpose and alignment in their jobs. They are eager to do work that makes a difference and that allows them to draw on their unique perspectives and identities to do so.
It’s the role of leaders to demonstrate that the clear desire for authenticity is not only possible for driving positive impact, but necessary.
Empowering Diverse And Inclusive Teams
While I’m proud to consider myself an advocate for confident leadership today, at many times throughout my career I felt pressured to conform to conventions that did not reflect who I really am.
As was the case for me, many leaders wear ‘masks’ that harm their self-confidence, hinder their leadership potential and compromise opportunities to bring true diversity into an organisation. Daring to be an authentic leader takes courage, it means being open to showing vulnerabilities at times and developing a style that is defined by our individual stories and not by stereotypes.
Being an authentic leader also goes hand in hand with empowering an authentic and inclusive organisation. By being genuine and transparent about our experiences, and by embracing the uniqueness of our styles, we set a powerful tone for workplace inclusivity that ripples through the business and invite others to do the same.
A diverse, united team that embraces difference is the engine of the disruptive, innovative thinking that Pampers relies on to create unique solutions that address evolving consumers’ needs.
Driving Positive Societal Change
Ultimately, the beauty of confident, authentic leadership is that it allows for a business to focus on what’s most important: purpose.
Throughout my career I have seen that the more that brands advocate for and create change on issues that are genuinely connected to their business and their values, the more palpable and significant the impact.
It’s been a privilege to be part of initiatives during my time at Procter & Gamble that are examples of what can be achieved when confident and inclusive leadership comes together with purpose. From our 15-year partnership with UNICEF to eliminate Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus (MNT) in 26 countries, to specially-designed products for premature and underserved babies, to our stigma-erasing campaigns against period poverty, I’ve seen first-hand what can be achieved when leaders dare to be authentic and are not afraid to show vulnerabilities.
By doing so, they empower others to show up as their true selves and work together towards a shared vision. Ultimately, it’s that confidence and ambition that enables us to make a real difference.