What it Means to be an Authentic Leader in the 21st Century by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC
In today’s business world, there are many buzzwords surrounding the idea of effective leadership and executive management. One of the most recent catchphrases is “authentic” leadership. The phrase has been coined, in part, out of a realization that many business people act more as “bosses” rather than “leaders” and may struggle with the concept of leading in a way that is true to themselves. Here are some traits that help set apart “authentic” leaders from those who are in leadership positions, yet continue to act as bosses.
- Authentic leaders create change. Anyone can become unsatisfied with the status quo when he sees it isn’t working. A true leader, however, creates change when the status quo isn’t working. Leaders are people who have tangible results.
- Authentic leaders operate with integrity. The most effective leaders have a moral compass that guides their behavior. They are true to their word and have a genuine desire to make a positive difference. They treat other people the way they want to be treated in business and in their personal lives.
- Authentic leaders act. They don’t ask others to do what they are not willing to do themselves. They work hard, without waiting for others to step up. One of their greatest qualities is their ability to inspire others to work hard because of their initiative.
- Authentic leaders are involved. The best leaders usually have many other activities outside of work. They often raise families and are deeply involved in their communities. This variety of priorities and commitments gives them the motivation they need to keep making a difference. The best leaders are busy doing things they want to be doing.
The actions of a leader are what separate them from those who operate as bosses. Leaders motivate others to be their best selves because of the example that they set. If you strive to be a leader in your own business, find the activities and outcomes that speak to you and then set up your own life to have the authentic tone that will not only make you your very best, but will inspire others to be their best, as well.