The Secret Guide to Authentic Leadership - Final Secrets


The Secret Guide to Authentic Leadership - Final Secrets



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In the journey to becoming an authentic leader, one must cultivate a deep and relentless desire for knowledge. This thirst for information extends beyond merely understanding the mechanics of effective leadership; it encompasses a drive to achieve better outcomes, positively influence others, and enhance one's own empathetic listening and leadership skills. Authentic leadership is about continuous learning and self-improvement, driven by curiosity and a commitment to personal and professional growth.


Secret #1: Finding Your Inner Voice
Secret #2: Your Legacy
Secret #3: Stand Up and Speak Out
Secret #4: Leadership and Management
Secret #5: Don’t Imitate Others
Secret #6: Lead From Within
Secret #7: Servant Leader
Secret #8 – Being Genuine
Secret #9 – Express Your Leadership as a Person
Secret #10 – Admit When You’re Wrong
Secret #11 – Hold Yourself and Employees Accountable
Secret #11 – Truly Be Open To Feedback
Secret #13 – Take the Heat; Give the Credit
Secret #14 – Have Time for Those in Your Care
Secret #15 – Know and Recognize All Levels
Secret #16 – Know When to Lead From in Front, Alongside, and Behind


Have an Insatiable Thirst for Information

Being an authentic leader requires developing an insatiable thirst for information regarding

how to be more effective, how to bring about better results, how to influence those around you more positively, how to be an effective and empathetic listener; and how to bring out the best of each employee. You also need to be curious, ask why, and reflect on your part of a relationship and how you can improve.

It’s important always to be learning, which I thought meant reading books and articles about self-improvement and improving leadership skills. It does mean that, but it includes much more, like learning a new hands-on skill like kayaking or painting. It means broadening your skill set to include a more balanced approach to life and leadership. It’s why many undergraduate degrees include science, art, literature, and math, etc. I remember thinking those classes would be a waste of time because I wanted to be in business. As I learned, those classes opened up my thinking and leadership style. I learned there is a connection between the arts, sciences, and business.

Being open to acquiring new information, learning new skills, and adapting those skills makes you an asset to any company. You also are leading by example.


Be Courageous and Committed

You have to be courageous and committed, tough and inspiring enough to energize others in the right direction, and patient enough to allow those in your care to make mistakes and to grieve over their losses as they catch up with transition and/or change. You must be strong and self-reliant enough to take the lead and forge the way ahead while being open enough to seek input and admit mistakes.

Being courageous ensures ongoing innovation and adaptability. It sends a powerful message of resilience and commitment to progress and inspires team members to pursue excellence regardless of tenure.

Commitment is what keeps you going in the face of adversity and challenges. Ken Blanchard said, “There’s a difference between interest and commitment. When you’re interested in doing something, you do it only when circumstances permit. Committing to something, you accept no excuses, only results.”

People will not follow a leader who is not committed, and as leaders, we should always evaluate our performance in terms of whether we are a leader worth following. True commitment inspires and attracts people. It demonstrates you have conviction. People will believe in you only if you believe in your cause. As I once read, commitment is persistence with purpose and makes you a leader worth following.


Have a Sense of Humor

The last secret to authentic leadership I’d like to share is being able to laugh at yourself and have a sense of humor, which I think is an underestimated leadership skill. You have to be comfortable being a team builder and a champion of organizational change, which can cause discomfort. Appropriate humor can be a powerful springboard for creating a good atmosphere at work.

Stanford University runs an executive program called “Humor: Serious Business”. Here’s a few lines from one of the course descriptions: “YOU, oh fearless leader of the future (and maybe present) are very important. You will make critical and far-reaching economic, political, and social decisions in your quest beyond Stanford to change lives, organizations, and the world. That's serious stuff. So, why humor? The late journalist Eric Sevareid said, "Next to power without honor, the most dangerous thing in the world is power without humor.”  Our goal is to pin you down and not let you leave Stanford without a healthy dose of humanity, humility, and intellectual perspective that only humor can bring.”

According to a study by the Harvard Business Review, leaders with a well-developed sense of humor are 27 percent more admired and credible than the average, and their teams are 15 percent more committed. Those are two good reasons to look at humor in the workplace in a different light.

Appropriate humor has been my saving grace during challenging times. It has served as an uplifter to my teams and has brought much-needed smiles when the heaviness of our work has weighed us down. I share this final secret because it’s one of my favorites and has complemented the other important skills, traits, and characteristics of being an authentic leader.

To Wrap Things Up!

The path to authentic leadership is multifaceted, requiring an insatiable thirst for information, courage, commitment, and a good sense of humor. Leaders can inspire and effectively guide their teams by embracing continuous learning, leading with conviction and resilience, and fostering a positive and uplifting atmosphere through humor. These elements are crucial in shaping a leadership style that is effective, deeply respected, and admired.