Authentic Leadership and Being Authentic – What does that mean anyway?
You find a brilliant, philosophical, and humorous answer to that question in the article below.
For my executive coaching clients, I prefer a more practical approach: Yes, I strongly believe that you need to be authentic as a leader to be successful.
First and foremost, that means not trying to be someone who you are not. If you are an introvert by nature, don't try to act like a Steve Jobs. If you are a gentle person, don't try to show up as a drill sergeant, just because you think your environment requires that. People will feel quickly when you just act the part, and that doesn't go down well. People will equally feel when you are being true to yourself, and that is a recipe to build trust.
Being authentic also means that you can and should be vulnerable. It does not mean you need to show your dark side at all times...
Given that it has been shown that there are a greater preponderance of narcissism and psychopathic tendencies in corporate leadership positions compared the rest of organisational populations, do you really want these people to be authentic? (...) I can convince myself that I am a beautiful soul who comes from a place of kindness and awareness, until that is, someone pisses me off. Then what? If I shout and swear at the driver that just cut in front of me am I being genuine and authentic? …the ancient Greeks promoted the philosophy of ‘being true to oneself’. However, what, if at base, I am an insecure and damaged individual? Should I then be true to myself? Additionally if I act in accordance to who I am and it is at the expense of others, is that okay?