Lesson in Leadership

Stepping Stones to Authentic Leadership

Source | LinkedIn : By Bimal Rath

Simplistically, leadership gets reduced to mere ‘influence’. While influencing is an important aspect of leadership, ‘authentic leadership’leadership that creates personal and organizational transformation is perhaps the need of the hour.

It is astonishing to witness so many leaders in the workplace attempting to besomeone else, while their “real” personality transpires outside of work. Many may even be oblivious of what they might be doing—being Dr.Jekyll and Mr.Hyde.It is possible that they try to depict their perceived “ideal” selves at work or trying to live upon a “better self”. Unfortunately, this behavior does not have a very positive impact on others. Consequently, leaders seem shocked when their employees do not readily trust them, do not get inspired by them or when they probably do not like them.

Being an authentic leader involves many aspects. The two most important aspects that I can think of are: self-awareness and understanding one’s purpose in life.  Here’s a list of opinions to reflect on, as each of us is on the journey of being an authentic leader:-

1. Inside-Out:

Many leaders share the belief that – Leadership is acting. This paradigm needs to be altered to being true to self and this can only happen through ‘Self Awareness’. Authentic leaders are aware of their unique strengths, personality, weaknesses, emotions and come across as ‘genuine’ individuals.

They are (and feel) exactly the same, inside and outside. They also realize that being self-actualized is a journey and not the destination. They keep introspecting, learning from their experiences and moving ahead, continuously!

2. Vulnerability of the Self:

Authentic leaders are fearless in accepting who they are, including their weaknesses. While, they are aware of their strengths, they never forget that they aren’t perfect. They do not use defense mechanisms such as blame, denial, projection etc. to cover up their fears, rather, they accept their mistakes gracefully and move ahead learning from them. Being vulnerable, being true and embracing one’s weaknesses is really powerful and empowering. On a day to day basis, what a leader does with feedback, is a good dipstick measure to test this.
It is in ‘these’ moments of awareness when a person becomes a whole and self-actualized, with the ability of transcending one’s ego-driven, fearful self. And as one begins to love and accept one’s flaws, he/she becomes more compassionate toward oneself and others. This compassion makes him/her less judgmental and more accepting. A leader like this becomes the role model of building self-esteem through vulnerability by helping others navigate safely through their own fears and limitations.

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