Today’s post is co-authored by Michelle Braden (leader of the Authentic Leadership Summit) and Mike Figliuolo.
I have asked myself the question, “What makes a leader authentic?” many times over the years. My natural response would be that you just know in your “gut.” I realize now that although the “gut” does talk to you, there is a better, more accurate way to measure what is truly authentic. I have also come to realize how important it is for me to look at myself to check my own authenticity. I cannot change anyone else; I can only change myself.
For myself, as well as the leaders with whom I work, my goal was to create factors we can look at in our own lives to determine and measure our authenticity. I truly believe that being authentic is easier for some than others because of how their brains are wired, both from a nature and nurture standpoint.
Looking at the word authentic from a dictionary standpoint is a good starting point. According to dictionary.com, authentic is something that is “NOT false or copied; genuine; real.” Authentic is also defined as “Having the origin supported by unquestionable evidence, entitled to acceptance or belief because of agreement with known facts or experience, reliable; trustworthy.” We can take this literal definition and break it down in authentic leadership. An authentic leader is: