Develop as an Authentic Leader

As you read this series of posts on authenticity and leadership, I ask you to think about the basis for your own leadership development and the path you need to follow to become more authentic.

In “Your Development as an Authentic Leader” (Harvard Business Review, February 2007), Bill George, Peter Sims, Andrew N. McLean and Diana Mayer urge leaders to ask themselves the following questions:

  1. Which people and experiences in your early life had the greatest impact on you? 
  2. Which tools do you use to become self-aware?
    • What is your authentic self?
    • In which moments do you say to yourself, “This is the real me?”
  3. Name your most deeply held values.
    • Where did they come from?
    • Have your values changed significantly since your childhood?
    • How do your values inform your actions? 
  4. What motivates you extrinsically?
    • What are your intrinsic motivations?
    • How do you balance extrinsic and intrinsic motivations? 
  5. What kind of support team do you have?
    • How can your support team make you a more authentic leader?
    • How should you diversify your team to broaden your perspective? 
  6. Is your life integrated?
    • Are you able to be the same person in all aspects of your life (personal, work, family and community)?
    • If not, what’s holding you back? 
  7. What does authenticity mean in your life?
    • Are you a more effective leader when you behave authentically?
    • Have you ever paid a price for your authenticity? Was it worth it? 
  8. What steps can you take today, tomorrow, and over the next year to develop authentic leadership?

Ultimately, superior results over a sustained period make for an authentic leader. It may be possible to drive short-term outcomes without being authentic, but authentic leadership is the only way we know to create sustainable long-term results.

What do you plan to do to develop your authenticity as a leader? I’d love to hear from you. You can contact me here and on LinkedIn.