Tuesday, May 15, 2007

How would you define Authentic Leadership? How can it be developed?

Can you imagine inauthentic leadership? That is manipulation, deception or play-acting. I think we've seen enough of that in high visibility business figures over the last few years to know how catastrophic such shams and scams can be. Unfortunately, we only have ourselves to blame, it is really we who pull the wool over our eyes.

Yes, we decide to follow, therefore it is we who make leaders. We respond to something in another person and make a decision to support what they stand for. They can make a conscious appeal to our base instincts like anxiety and fear or our higher instincts like justice and joy and in either case that is a manipulation. Any such conscious action is an act of the ego and designed to get what they want from us - to strengthen that ego!

Authenticity is free of ego. This is our true self shining through, however that shows up. Our true self resonates with other true selves. There is no intention to influence others, they simply find something appealing in our behavior, can relate to us at a profound level, and decide to follow.

We cannot develop authentic leadership, it is already there. What we can do is remember it, uncover it and give it free reign. This can be a significant challenge for people whose conditioning has made that authentic self a source of shame. Recovering our authentic self requires acceptance of who we are and that we cannot control others for them to be as we would wish, only respond to them as they are.

It is no accident that the answer to a question about authentic leadership leads to the authentic self.


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