Authentic Leadership

Parker J. Palmer, an American author, educator, and activist on leadership and social change (among many other topics), once said:

The power for authentic leadership is found not in external arrangements, but in the human heart.

Parker J Palmer

Authentic leadership is based on positive psychology and psychological theories of self-regulation.

Authentic leadership comes from the heart, it comes from within. It is remaining true to who you are in public and in private. Authentic leadership encourages positive and honest relationships, built upon a consistency in words, actions, and values. These leaders tend to have a high self-awareness about their values, beliefs, emotions, identity, and abilities in everything that they do.

From educators to coaches, corporate executives to elected officials, authentic leaders are very aware of what they are capable of achieving, in what they are doing, and what their abilities are to get it done.

Authentic leaders are not afraid to admit when they are wrong or when they don’t know something. Often, when someone approaches an authentic leader with a question about something which the leader doesn’t know the answer to, the authentic leader will say something like, “I don’t know, why don’t we look it up together?” or, “I don’t know the answer to that, would you be willing to look it up tell me what you find so I can learn it too?”

Authentic leaders build trust with others through honesty, kindness, accountability, and optimism. Their openness encourages that trusting relationship with others. Transparency, mutual trust, shared objectives, and the welfare of all help guide authentic leaders to do what is right and fair.

Authentic leadership is releasing a perfectionist and dominating ego. It is releasing that need for power, that need for control. It is about embracing a world of possibilities and innovation through encouragement and empowering others.

Authenticity necessitates being conscious of what you are saying and doing, and how it impacts those around you. True authentic leaders don’t worry about continually being aware of what they are saying and doing because it is so congruent within themselves. That congruency shows up in every they say and do.

What are you doing to grow authenticity within yourself? Is your public life the same as your private life? Are you congruent with everything you say and do?

If you are struggling with this concept, with embracing authenticity, I am always open for discussions.

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