If Not You…Who? A PROUD Message About the Importance of Authenticity

June 01, 2022 | 865 Views

If Not You…Who? A PROUD Message About the Importance of Authenticity

Felicia White, CHT, Doctoral Candidate

CHART President-Elect | Director, Franchise Training | Scooter's Coffee

“If not you…who?” We have all heard this question before, referenced in various scenarios.

-Who will lead the team?

-Who will do this job?

-Who will deliver the presentation?

As we take this month to celebrate Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Pride Month, I was reminded of this question as it relates to authenticity. Pride Month is celebrated in June in honor of the 1969 Stonewall Uprising (also called the Stonewall Riots) in Manhattan, where the Greenwich Village residents demanded the right to be themselves. Their sacrifices set the foundation for changes in laws and society for LGBTQA+ individuals to live openly, but it extends beyond this group. They created space for many to live and lead authentically.

Being authentic means being honest and genuine, which in turn gains trust. These are key attributes for adult learning professionals. As hospitality trainers, it is important that we connect with the learners. Individuals will connect with people they feel they can trust and will want to engage in the learning process.

Careerstone Group LLC., outlines five steps for developing your authenticity:

  1. Be honest. (Be kind, affirming, constructive, and inclusive.)
  2. Engage other people. (Place the learner at the center of the experience. Look people in the eye, ask questions, and really listen.)
  3. Treat everyone with respect. (Treating people with respect is a sign of confidence and genuineness.)
  4. Test yourself. (Develop a strong self-awareness. Know how you operate in the world and how you impact others.)
  5. Look at others. (Think about those persons you consider to be real and authentic, because this is an effective way to understand authentic leadership behaviors.)

In my book, Bowties and Cowboy Boots: Lessons in Life and Leadership, one of the lessons I learned is that when you live and lead authentically, you give others permission to do the same. A huge part of what makes you successful as a trainer, especially in the hospitality industry, is…YOU. We create behavior change not just through job aids, workshops, and eLearning courses, but by how we role model those behaviors. Your learners are not looking for you to be like someone else, they are looking for you to be you, and respond accordingly.

I ask myself: “If you are not going to be you…who will?”

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