Authenticity of leadership​




I am thinking about leadership, especially authenticity of leadership. When I checked into the idea of authentic leadership using this terminology, I discovered that there is such a concept. George Sloan wrote a book called Authentic Leadership (2003) and Kevin Kruse wrote an online article about authenticity in leadership for Forbes Magazine (5-13-2013). Ideas about authentic leadership are summarized and excerpted for this post with due credits to George and Kevin.


What is authentic leadership?


Authenticity has been explored throughout history, from Greek philosophers to the work of Shakespeare (“To thy own self be true.” –Polonius, Hamlet).


1. Authentic leaders are self-aware and genuine. Authentic leaders are self-actualized individuals who are aware of their strengths, their limitations, and their emotions. They show their real selves to their followers. They realize that being self-actualized is an endless journey, never complete.


2. Authentic leaders are mission driven and focused on results. They are able to put the mission and the goals of the organization ahead of their own self-interest.


3. Authentic leaders lead with their heart, not just their minds. They are not afraid to show soul, emotion, vulnerability, and empathy.


4. Authentic leaders focus on the long-term. Leaders are focused on long-term value, not in beating quarterly estimates nor short-term fixes


Holding an idea of creating a leadership development process that has one of its sources based upon viable narrative and archetypal stories connected to leaders and audiences now and throughout history, I realize how much I like the idea of developing the leader who walks his or her talk with awareness, empathy, focus, and strength. Those who are part of that leadership, as members, followers, constituents, consumers, customers, voters, or audiences, then feel authentic excitement and aliveness to be part of such a powerful vision and experience.