Authentic leadership is tough, and it can be easy to stray from who we are at the core in order to satisfy business requirements.

Being totally authentic may present particular challenges in today's highly competitive environments. We can sometimes, slowly and indiscernibly, stray from our authentic selves. Despite all of this, we need to make every effort to stay true to who we are.

Check yourself against these 5 key principles of authentic leadership:

  1. Values

Living your values as a leader every day is an important key component of authentic leadership. However, you need to examine these values periodically to consider their validity in today's environment.

For example, work-life balance is no longer a perk – it may be an essential requirement for attracting the best minds to your organisation.

  1. Promises

Are you in the habit of making hasty promises that you know from past experience you are unable to keep? Think back on what promises you made, to whom, and see if you can fulfill some of these.

  1. Pretending

There is a real freedom when we shed all pretention. Are there times in your life when you see yourself being forced to put on a show to make an impression on others? Resolve to stop that, once and for all. Watch yourself soar when you are unencumbered by the weight of pretense. Tell yourself, "I am enough" – and mean it.

  1. Genuine

Straight talk, self-confidence, and simplicity – these are the building blocks of substance; the triumph over image. Think about how you can make all these things a daily habit.

5. Consistency

Are there areas in your life where you might lack consistency without intending to? For example, are you kind to some people, but not to others? Are you completely truthful in some circumstances, but not in others? What does this insight tell you?