Authenticity goes hand-in-hand with other key leadership values – most notably integrity and a people-first approach. At the core of authenticity is self-awareness. When you are self-aware, you recognize and own your strengths and limitations, and you are on a continual path of learning and growth.  In modern leadership science, self-awareness consistently ranks #1 as the most significant “emotional IQ” characteristic that leaders must have in order to build teams and engage followers.

Simply put, authentic leaders are genuine; they don’t have a “personal self” that differs from their “professional self.”  They are vulnerable and open about their weaknesses and mistakes, and recognize the power of collaborating with others whose skills and strengths complement theirs.  As Patrick Lencioni says in his Leadercast Now talk, Trust – Leading by Example, “The truth is, people will walk through walls of fire for a leader who’s true and human. People want to know our humanity.”

 Examples of Authenticity in leadership include:

  • Being genuine regardless of the situation or audience
  • Sharing your limitations and collaborating with others
  • Communicating with vulnerability and empathy
  • Speaking truth to power” rather than compromising what you genuinely believe in

“Authenticity is the alignment of head, mouth, heart, and feet -- thinking, saying, feeling, and doing the same thing, consistently. This builds trust, and followers love leaders they can trust.”  -- Lance Secretan, business leader, author, speaker and teacher of effective leadership

“Everybody in your organization benefits when you delegate responsibilities that fall outside your core competency. Thoughtful delegation will allow someone else in your organization to shine. Your weakness is someone else’s opportunity.” – Andy Stanley, leadership author and speaker, and founding pastor of North Point Ministries 

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