Authentic Leadership

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Authenticity – we all know it when we see it.  It’s the genuineness that comes across when someone is comfortable in their own skin, when they are being true to who they are and they act accordingly.  Last week I had the pleasure of watching an authentic leader in action.  This leader, the CIO of a multi-billion dollar company, was presenting to a group of 100 leaders, most whom did not know her and were unfamiliar with her leadership or presentation style.  Her presentation was about how she led her organization through a large restructuring and culture change.  She got rave reviews and high marks from the group she presented to and, because I organized her attendance and presentation for this group, I was able to receive more specific feedback from participants about why they rated her presentation so high.

Most of the comments were about how she was “real” and “wasn’t afraid to admit the mistakes she made along the way, during the cultural change she was leading”.  She was also able to laugh at herself as well as be honest about some of the difficulty she experienced during the reorganization.  She was only in front of this group for 90 minutes and her authenticity and true genuineness was evident from the second she took the stage.   The group was riveted, not only by her story but because she drew them in with her authenticity.  It was clear she wasn’t trying to put on a show, be anything other than who she was, or share information other than the complete truth of what she experienced.  Some of the participants even said that they would love to go work for her, or someone just like her.  Yes, after seeing her for only 90 minutes, they wanted to go work for her.  That’s what authenticity can do; it brings others to you and it happens with the simple act of merely being the only person you can be – you!

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