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Authenticity: What’s missing?

Source | LinkedIn : By Cindy Saunders

Genuine and authentic leaders are receiving a lot of attention these days. It’s heartening to see so much energy given to this subject. Creating generations of authentic leaders is critical to addressing challenges in the workplace.

Stanford psychologist Deborah Gruenfeld describes authenticity as the skill to manage the tension between authority and approachability. After all, leaders are expected to be strong, knowledgeable and give direction with confidence. But it must be balanced with emphasis on relationships with people: their input; their perspective; leading must be carried out with empathy and warmth.

Read anything (better yet, everything) written by Simon Sinek, Frederick Laloux, Marcus Buckingham or Matt Monge, to name a few, for limitless inspiration and research on the subject. We are slowly beginning to wake to this overdue paradigm shift towards a more humanized, connected, and people driven workplace.

Regrettably, the concept of authentic leadership still eludes many. I wonder if looking at a few “missing” traits in an authentic leader might paint a clearer picture. Here are three:

Ego – “a person’s sense of self-esteem or self-importance.”

An authentic leader doesn’t precede himself into a room. We’ve all experienced the “suck the air out of the room” personality that drips with self-importance as they walk by… Unfortunately, many of these people have position and power that reinforce their arrogant persona. Many of them have grown up in a business culture that has modeled this type of elitist behavior. In turn, they impose their archaic style upon those they consider subordinates. They can inflict long-lasting damage to those in their path.

The authentic leader shows up as a real person. They have a genuine connection with those they encounter. They enter and leave conversations with respect. Regardless of their title or position, they consider themselves as a part of the team, and fill their role in the “big picture” without pretense. They are confident as they esteem others, build trust, and empower those around them.

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