Natural Products Expo
authentic leadership Natural Products Expo East

Taking an authentic approach to leadership

All leaders at one time or another face situations where their integrity or courage is challenged. What sets authentic leaders apart is how they respond.

At an experiential workshop at Natural Products Expo East, two leadership coaches will teach practices to help leaders develop the confidence to show up authentically when it really counts. We asked Sheldon Romer, the cofounder and former CEO of Rudi's Organic Bakery who's now a consultant and adviser, and Susan Skjei, the director of the Authentic Leadership Center at Naropa University, to touch on the fundamentals of authentic leadership in preparation for their workshop.

What makes a leader “authentic”?

Sheldon Romer and Susan Skjei: Authentic leaders align “head, heart and hands” and are able to engage genuinely and non-reactively with the situations they encounter. They manifest a deep sense of self-awareness, presence and emotional intelligence, communicate skillfully with others, and are able to act with courage and decisiveness. All of this takes practice!

From the authentic leadership lens, how does one go about making tough decisions as a business leader?

SR and SS: Authentic leaders listen, learn and engage in robust conversation about the “tough” decisions. They gather data, listen to their “gut” and seek input from others. They approach all decisions systemically, then they decide, try something and continue to learn.

We’ve been talking a lot about trust in the food and supplements industry recently. How does trust tie into this concept of authentic leadership?

SR and SS: It starts with knowing and trusting yourself, and then building trust in your key relationships through “commitment conversations” with customers, employees, suppliers and other stakeholders, and then expanding this integrity out to other organizations and society...engaging with all these circles of trust builds what is most important—credibility.

Catch Sheldon Romer and Susan Skjei at Expo East.
What: Leading with Authenticity in Challenging Moments: 3 Essential Practices (Sponsored by Twinlab)
When: 2 - 3:15 p.m., Friday, Sept. 23, 2016
Where: Baltimore Convention Center, Room 301
Day pass or Super Pass required.

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