Authenticity in Leadership

Posted by on Sep 14, 2011 in Organizational Leadership

The characteristics of a great leader are never easily defined. Rob Goffee and Gareth Jones wrote Why Should Anyone Be Led by You? The book discusses why people are defined as great leaders and what makes them different from those around them. Chapter 2 of the book discusses being your genuine self. This stuck me as something so obvious that I have often overlooked it when trying to determine leadership traits among those I consider mentors.

Identifying authenticity in others is easier than making sure you are being your authentic self. Especially when  incorporating the amount of learning and developing that people experience as they mature and grow personally and professionally.

Goffee and Jones suggest observing your relationships with others and drawing conclusions about yourself. Another idea that the authors emphasize is to make the most of your distinguishing features. For example, try and determine if you are a strong public speaker, emotionally intelligent or perhaps more subdued in your communication pattern. Discovering what makes you stand out as a leader can help you understand what makes you tick, and from there you can construct your personal authenticity.

Once you have found what makes you authentic, the authors make recommendations for maintaining self-awareness. These include putting yourself in new contexts to see how you react, getting feedback from those you work with and making sure to remove yourself from work and get back to your “roots”- or where you have had long standing relationships with people who know you well.

When thinking about discovering and molding a personal leadership style, it can be a challenge to be yourself while finding what works for the organization. By making sure that you self-acknowledge skills,  it will help you build credibility as consistent and genuine when working and interacting with people throughout your career.

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