As A Leader Are You Authentic Or Are You An Impersonation Of Yourself?
by Stephen Warrilow
Speaking about her encounters with the inhabitants of C-Suites in corporate US, executive coach Jayne Warrilow (no relation) says:
"The way they look at life is so prescribed, by corporate culture...they are everything they think they should be...they are impersonating themselves..."
"...it's NOT about people, its about managing, its about controlling...I want to win...thats all I want to do... I need to be the best...I need to look like the best..."
I am reliably informed that there have been in excess of 1000 studies conducted by leadership scholars which all have attempted to define and capture the essence of truly great leadership.
A significant amount of the material on this site covers the whole subject of leadership from many different angles.
However, to the very best of my knowledge, no-one has so far succeeded in nailing precisely what it is that constitutes the great leader.
A relatively recent study by Bill George, Peter Sims, Andrew N. McLean, and Diana Mayer Discovering Your Authentic Leadership (Harvard Business Review Feb 07) and involving in-depth interviews with 125 leaders identified that there are in fact no universal traits, skills or characteristics rather their leadership emerged from their life experiences:
"Consciously and subconsciously, they were constantly testing themselves through real-world experiences and reframing their life stories to understand who they were at their core. In doing so, they discovered the purpose of their leadership and learned that being authentic made them more effective.
Discovering your authentic leadership requires a commitment to developing yourself. Like musicians and athletes, you must devote yourself to a lifetime of realizing your potential.
First and most important, they frame their life stories in ways that allow them to see themselves not as passive observers of their lives but rather as individuals who can develop self-awareness from their experiences.
Authentic leaders act on that awareness by practicing their values and principles, sometimes at substantial risk to themselves. They are careful to balance their motivations so that they are driven by these inner values as much as by a desire for external rewards or recognition.
Authentic leaders also keep a strong support team around them, ensuring that they live integrated, grounded lives."
Here are some questions for you to consider:
# What steps are you taking to become more self-aware?
# What is "the real me" - your authentic self?
# What does it mean to you to be authentic in your life and as a leader?
# Have you ever paid a price - or are you prepared to pay a price - for your authenticity as a leader?