Are you strange, or authentic? Why leaders need to be real.

The clip below has also been published by GiANT Worldwide$_35-2

Current leadership literature is rife with ink spilled on authenticity. This authenticity concept always brings certain questions to mind: First, do we really know who we are? Second, if we really knew ourselves, then why would we want to be anybody else? Third, have we slipped so far that we really have to remind leaders to be themselves?

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”  —Oscar 

Without authenticity, a leader is simply not effective. Our culture is increasingly cynical regarding organizations, institutions and bureaucracies, and we seek leaders who are genuine and secure, who can guide us through the complexity of these entities. Authentic leaders understand organizational constraints and the network of people who impact performance. Authentic leaders are attentive to honest feedback and to the details of organizations, like the signals of mood and morale. Detection of organizational trends allows adaptation as quickly as possible. Authentic leaders simply build trust.

Today we tend to emphasize analytical thinking which, in turn, impacts self-expression; but as leaders, we must fully understand our strengths and be comfortable with our weaknesses. If analytical thinking is a strength, we need to use it! If not, embrace that truth and partner with someone who possesses the gifts we lack. This is so easy to jot down in a blog post, but it demands real courage to achieve. We need to be who we are. Ponder for a minute The Doors’ lyrics in the song “People Are Strange.” Are we willing to risk people thinking we are strange? Will those we lead think less of us when they see who we really are?

This doesn’t mean proclaiming a lengthy list of our faults, although strategically revealing a weakness or two is indeed an excellent way to establish credibility. Acknowledging weakness illustrates to our followers that we care more about the mission than our reputation. It shows we are greater good leaders, not personal power faux-leaders.

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