Are You An Authentic Leader
By Matthew G. Brandt
Two types of leadership styles well known today seem to, just by their names, be easy to understand and follow. Principle-Centered and Servant Leadership are well practiced, well taught in many circles around the globe today. Principle-Centered really is about having a set of internally held principles. Leadership actions, norms and values are held and acted upon these. Things like; honor, discipline, and a true understanding of our actions go far beyond your organizations team, branch, or agency you lead.
If a leader claims to be principle-centered; then we observe a failure of personal integrity or has no discipline in how they manage their lives, we quickly loose respect for them as a leader. Actions speak far louder than words or mission/vision statements written on the wall. Your team is watching everything you do.
Servant leadership comes more from the leader acting more as servant to others, including their team and organization, maybe the community they serve. Leaders can claim to be “servant leaders” but their actions can in no way portray a self-serving action in anyway, the two simply don’t mix. You can’t be a servant leader and boast about yourself or your accomplishments.
The main distinction of authenticity; People will always see you for who you really are, regardless of what you say, or how you act. Those leaders or any truly good people will just know it. If you have a good heart and try to truly be respectful and accomplish your tasks with a real desire for success without being disrespectful, demeaning, or over-bearing, then people will know the true you. If on the other hand you are self-serving, egotistical, or simply “that guy/gal” that everyone knows, then you probably will be seen for who you really are. People are very perceptive; think about how you “just know” when someone is either good or bad.
Those who praise your leadership, your actions, your way of managing, are probably what many call a “yes-man” or are riding your coat-tails. People will see that as well. The problem however; many leaders can’t see through people like that and allow it to continue, often without really understanding how it impacts others.
Own Your Leadership
Each of us, as a leader are responsible for our own leadership. We have to own the integrity, the honor and the service you provide your team and your organization. Fail to take responsibility and those around you suffer, along with the long term mortality of the organization.
When positive principles of any leadership style is supported by authentic, positive actions and behaviors; effective leadership is taking place! Take some time to examine your motivations to lead. Do you embrace your leadership style or reluctantly do as you ask? Are you an authentic leader, or are you faking it because you really don’t know how to lead properly? It’s ok to admit you don’t know. The dirty little secret is; most young leaders or new supervisors have not learned how to lead appropriately and like any skill; leadership takes training.
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