What Does Authentic Leadership Mean?

What Does Authentic Leadership Mean?
“Authentic leadership is the full expression of “me” for the benefit of “we.” - Henna Inam, author of Wired for Authenticity: Seven Practices to Inspire, Adapt, & Lead

75% of employees want to experience more authentic leaders at work, according to Harvard Business Review. Authentic leadership is imperative of a healthy work environment throughout the entire organization. Research shows employee engagement improves, job stress decreases, productivity soars, and work culture improves. Why? Because leaders are their authentic self.

What is Authentic Leadership?

“Know thyself.” - ancient Greek philosophers who proposed the concept of authenticity

In True North, author Bill George describes authentic leaders as those who are true to themselves and their beliefs. They engender trust and develop genuine connections. This enables them to motivate people to achieve high levels of performance. Rather than letting the expectations of others guide them, they are their own person.

Authentic Leadership Characteristics

Over time employees can develop the positive behaviors of authentic leaders. The following characteristics are prominent in authentic leaders:

Authentic Leadership Examples

The first step to developing these characteristics is to understand what these traits look like and how they show up in the workplace.

They are aware of and monitor their impact on others. A leader will observe if their passion about an initiative is building excitement through the organization.

They openly share their interests, personal values, and goals. Teams know their leaders’ favorite things to do over the weekends, their values, such as time with family, and professional goals.

“True passion attracts. If you have passion in your business, the right people will be attracted to your team.” - Robert T. Kiyosaki, American entrepreneur, businessman, and author
“Commitment is what transforms a promise into a reality.” - Abraham Lincoln, 16th president of the United States
“People with goals succeed because they know where they’re going.” - Earl Nightingale, American speaker and author, and one of the most listened-to broadcasters in history
“You don’t get results by focusing on results. You get results by focusing on the actions that produce results.” - Mike Hawkins, former American football cornerback
“Leaders who don’t listen will eventually be surrounded by people who have nothing to say.” - Andy Stanley, communicator, author, and one of the 10 most influential living pastors in America
“Vulnerability is not knowing victory or defeat, it’s understanding the necessity of both; it’s engaging. It’s being all in.” - Brené Brown, American professor, lecturer, author, and podcast host known for research on shame, vulnerability, and leadership
“Good leadership requires broadness of perspective and taking as many perspectives into account as possible.” - Mark Leary, lead researcher of intellectual humility
“Without trust we don’t truly collaborate; we merely coordinate or, at best, cooperate. It is trust that transforms a group of people into a team.” - Stephen Covey, American educator, businessman, and author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
"I am still learning.” - Michelangelo (age 87), Italian sculptor, painter, architect, and engineer

HSI Can Help

HSI’s leadership development training courses allow you to curate a curriculum around authentic leadership development, psychological safety, communication, decision-making, team building and more!

“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” - John F. Kennedy, 35th president of the United States

Leaders may find it beneficial to watch authentic leadership development training courses like:

As well as other leadership development tie-ins such as:

From a company perspective, leaders may suggest these training courses to their employees:

Many of HSI’s clients open their HSI training library to their employees for self-directed learning. Employees can choose off-the-shelf training video courses best suited for their unique needs. Request a free trial of our HSI LMS. And have access to HSI’s Business Skills library to watch any of the courses mentioned.

Additional Resources

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