How do leaders show up authentically in turbulent times?

We’re hearing from a lot of leaders that keeping teams engaged can be hard right now for a number of reasons—market anxiety, layoffs, reorgs, and more. In uncertain times, it’s more important than ever that leaders do what they say they’re going to do and live out their values. In short, be authentic.

But authenticity can feel a bit vague. What do you do to be authentic? What does authenticity mean to you? How do you know if your authenticity is…authentic? A conundrum! 

We asked our seasoned executive coaches, “How do leaders show up authentically in turbulent times?” They spoke to three key themes: 

  1. Know yourself 
  2. Communicate accordingly
  3. Make it real

A special thanks to our contributors…

Let’s dive into it…


Create definitions

“Step back to see your big picture – pause, slow things down. Reflect on what matters the most to you in the situation (which creates an opening to your authentic self).” — Rae Kyriazis

“How does what you are doing now connect to the greater objective? (This is my favorite, short video that demonstrates the power of connecting with your ‘why’.)” —Sarah Nordhausen

“What does the word authentic mean to you; what is your definition? Then come up with 5-7 words that describe your authentic self.” — Daniel Phoenix

Connect with values

“Reconnect with (or clarify if you do not know) core values. Reconnecting with a person or organization’s core values that are timeless and universal is very helpful and creates the path for a more powerful accountable narrative. You need to speak from what matters most and what is truly most important to “ground” your authentic self.” — Rae Kyriazis

Identify what matters to you (eg. values), what inspires you, and what it looks like when you feel your best work just flows. What can you learn from those “peak” experiences that shape a leadership style that could only be yours?” — Alissa Reiter

Identify present state

“Deeply reflect what you are feeling with a coach/trusted advisor. Speaking it has this incredible power to transform it into something else. For example, if you are feeling fearful of a pending organization change, by speaking about it, you are able to discover possibilities which creates more options for the path forward.” — Rae Kyriazis

“Make space to process your own emotions regarding the turbulent times. Leaders often are isolated in the turbulence – this might be the only place you can be truly authentic with what you are experiencing. It could be as simple as a two-word check-in to see where you are at in this moment.”— Sarah Nordhausen


Inspire with passion

“Bring all the self-discovery forward to lead in a way that’s true to you. It takes courage to buck the models we see around us, but your genuine passion and beliefs are what will make you compelling to others. A strong leader inspires followership this way.” —Alissa Reiter

Build trust

“Show more of you, who you are, what is important to you, what you enjoy doing outside of work. Create Trust, be credible, do what you say, and show empathy.” — Nadine Singler

Be vulnerable

“Be vulnerable and share what it is like, ‘I am finding it hard too, I may not have all the answers,  but I know together we will get through it.” — Nadine Singler

“Speak from the heart and tell the truth (as much as is possible) about what they are feeling, and speak in the most simple terms (NO mumbo jumbo lingo) possible. Clear simple heart-centered language resonates the most.” — Rae Kyriazis


Find the balance 

“Authenticity and vulnerability go hand in hand. What might a balance between being vulnerable and holding direction look like for you?” — Sarah Nordhausen

Make it tangible

Go back to the 5-7 words that describe your authentic self. Integrate 1-3 of them. Then translate those words into (SMART) action items.  How will you specifically integrate 1-3 of those words into your work life in the next few weeks and months? How will you live them out? Bonus ask: are you willing to track the changes you notice?  If yes, how will you track those changes?” — Daniel Phoenix

Given potential competing priorities, how can your values serve as a compass to guide decision-making and action? Some potential questions might be: 

  1. Will this action move you closer to living your values or further away?
  2. If you make this decision, what values will be present?
  3. What is the cost for you when not honoring that value?
  4. During this time, What are one or two behaviors that support your value?”

— Sarah Nordhausen

Ask for support 

“Enlist/engage people to action – the more that people are engaged in the challenge the greater the possibility to work together on a path forward becomes.” — Rae Kyriazis

Now, why is this important? 

As Alissa Reiter put it, “People are drawn to leaders who are real. When you bring your authentic self, you bring your full passion, energy, and conviction. This is what creates a clear vision and inspires others to follow.” 

There are endless ways to ensure you’re showing up authentically. If you feel you aren’t being authentic, come back to this. 

  • Know yourself
  • Communicate accordingly
  • Make it real 

Ask yourself the hard questions and do the work. And, remember, we aren’t perfect. But that’s what makes us authentic!

Like this article?

Share on Linkedin
Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on Pinterest

GMU Live

Hyatt tapped SNP to create a video promoting GMU Live — the onsite portion of General Manager University onboarding program. SNP traveled to Chicago for the shoot to coach the speakers on camera and capture compelling b-roll that highlighted the new general managers’ emotional, and educational journey into Hyatt.

Hyatt Glasswing Overview

SNP produced an internal marketing video to help raise awareness and adoption of Hyatt’s new Glasswing application, which tracks real-time financial data, KPIs, and other core metrics for owners and operators. From conducting the interviews, to coaching the speakers on camera and editing the video, SNP owned the content creation at each step of production.

Back in 2013, Asana was still a young company and some of their managers were experiencing leadership roles for the first time. So they needed to learn how to be, well, leaders. Like how to be more influential, directive, confident, and how to deal with conflict. Because if they could flourish then Asana could start to scale even faster (and without so many growing pains).

Enter SNP.

We started with just one 1:1 coaching relationship. But the good word spread fast. Soon enough more people from Asana’s management team were seeking our unique third party perspective, skill-based approach, and communications expertise to build their personal brand, strengthen their careers, and achieve more. (And did we mention the coaching program was a perk that attracted new talent? We didn’t? Well…) Eight years later and Asana is still scaling. And we’re still by their side helping them do it.

By clicking on "Submit", you agree to the SNP Privacy Policy and communication from SNP Communications through the contact information listed.


By clicking on “Submit”, you agree to the SNP Privacy Policy and communication from SNP Communications through the contact information listed.