Using biographical accounts of authentic leaders in business, politics and sports, I present the four strategies that differentiate authentic from non authentic leaders. I invite you to reflect on your best self and plan positive trigger events. You will go through a life review to discover your passion, embrace all sides of your story, craft an uplifting mission, and advance prosocial goals. In this process, you will learn how to elaborate, edit, and extend your life story for long lasting impact on your world. I conclude with a discussion of the “authenticity trap.”
Speaking: Authentic Leadership
Authentic leaders find a contagious passion. Being authentic is more than setting a positive climate. Authentic leaders present an heroic sequence of events. Their followers are contagious of their passion to overcome obstacles. Their passion and love for what they do is the truly motivator. What one does is who one is. When you act as an authentic leader, you feel like one. They do not fake their leadership. The passion and enthusiasm of authentic leaders enter followers into a spiral of creation and discovery.
Authentic leaders embrace their personal story. It is not enough to develop a vision for the future. Authentic leaders have a story of re-discovering and personal transformation. They bridge their past and their future. Through their life stories, authentic leaders reconstruct the past before they transition and anticipate the future. A narrative of your life with balance processing –good and bad; errors and success- gives you a semblance of unity and purpose.
Authentic leaders provide an uplifting mission. The cold statement that is hold on the walls of many companies is not a mission. Authentic leaders create a truly inspiring mission -a thread that ties together the meaning of the company´s events. A company mission provides communion, harmony and enthusiasm for the collective identity of the work unit and the organization that enrich the life of others.
Authentic leaders lead followers with virtue. Authentic leaders go beyond their self interest. Their motivation to lead is based on conviction rather than status. Childhood emotional attachment and life turning points help them advance prosocial goals. They have moral stands like an inner compass about the good and bad. What is more, the personal conviction is the result of their own experience and they instruct about moral worth and integrity. Because they know that the lack of authenticity produces emotional dissonance and stress, they lead with virtue of moral excellence.