Editor’s letter: The importance of authenticity and integrity

Authenticity is one of the key attributes for business leaders today, so says Bunge EMEA CEO Tommy Jensen.

I would go so far as to say it is the most important attribute in business. It should guide every action and decision that is made.

With authenticity comes openness, honesty, integrity – all values that can be recognised by anyone in the workplace, no matter how senior or junior their job title.

Being authentic doesn’t mean knowing (or pretending to know) everything and thrusting this vision upon your teams.

It means accepting that you do not know everything and seeking help from those who do have the knowledge for the area concerned.

Authenticity also means trusting your employees, your colleagues, your managers that they are competent (in the best meaning of the word) to do their jobs to the best of their ability.

For a business leader it also requires open communication: to lay out the strategy ahead and get the best from your employees.

Authenticity is not a sliding scale – a person either has it or not. A business either has it or not.

Authenticity can be faked, it can be painted on, but only temporarily, and when that cover is washed away the rejection and disengagement of the workforce (and its customers) will be quick and deep.

In the most extreme examples, it can even lead to the entire collapse of the business.

But by being authentic, by trusting and respecting your colleagues, your employees, they will respect you and build a stronger better business.

 

Tommy Jensen: “I think to be authentic is one of the key words in today’s business life and I think it counts for the CHRO more than anybody these days.”

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