Authentic leadership entails honest relationships between a leader and his followers (Bill, 2017). It creates trust and improves performance of the individuals being led. A person’s history such as live events and trigger events play a key role in forming an authentic leader. An authentic leader must be genuine, results-focused, self-aware, and mission-driven (Kruse, 2017). This enables the driver to be aware of their emotions, strengths, and limitations. The leader is, therefore, able to show their real self to followers and put the objectives of the organizations as the priority above their self-interest.
My experience in leading others started even before I was mandated with a leadership role. Notably, when among my workmates, with whom we were in the same level in the company’s hierarchy, I always assumed the role of a leader. However, my role was not based on dictating orders or mandating duties; I did not have such authority. Rather, my leadership was in influencing moral development and value of my fellow workmates. When I later assumed the leadership role, I was more than prepared to steer my followers smoothly towards the right direction and orientation. Authentic leadership requires the leader to adapt their style and behavior of operations to ensure they are effective across different departments and situations (Wang, Sui, Luthans, Wang & Wu, 2014). The move enables the authentic leader to incorporate varying needs of different situations and serve diverse followers. Though incorporation of these leadership contexts, I have been able to bring my followers together to work towards a common objective as a team.
My life story has been an important factor in enabling me to lead effectively. In my childhood and throughout my entire education, I have learned the value of honesty and the importance of creating lasting relationships based on trust. Before all this realization came to me, I recall how I was frequently involved in many cases of enmity with my friends all emanating from lies and mistrust. It is through this that I decided to embrace a new life where I would relate to my friends, schoolmates, and all those close to me in a trustful manner. This life story has enabled me to maintain the same nature with my followers. It remains engraved in my mind that relating with people requires trust, openness, and embracing ethical values. Thus, I have been able to bring my followers together and create a close relationship with them making us trust each other.
My past experiences have greatly shaped my passion for leadership and leadership values. The encounters have enabled me to differentiate between my personal interests and the organizational interests. As an authentic leader, the organizational interests come first and are always prioritized. Such experiences have led me to being focused on the organizational goals, aims, and objectives without letting my personal emotions interfere. Through my experiences, I have also come to the realization that use of life-stories to create awareness has a high significance impact. Therefore, rather than use traditional methods, I utilize self-reflection and life-stories to encourage my followers. This approach enables followers to associate their personal experiences with others as well as get inspired to overcome diverse situations and hardships (Leroy, Anseel, Gardner & Sels, 2015).
Also, when undertaking my education, I was always focused on making it big in life. My principle concern was not the assessment tests or end of year exams. Rather, my principle worry was on how my future would be years after school. I wanted to be successful not just in passing exams but also having a reputable and outstanding career in my future. This is one of the experience that has fuelled my ability to lead effectively. According to George (2017), authentic leaders do not focus on the short term; rather on long term. Their major concern is not beating quarterly estimates but achieving long-term shareholder value. Examples of such leaders include Bezos of Amazon (Kruse, 2017). I can relate this to the long-term focus I had in my school life whereby I was not more concerned about my immediate performance but by the long-term results. My focus was on having a remarkable career later in life, many years to come. This experience has capacitated me when planning for an organization and dealing with my followers. I always encourage my followers to be patient and work hard towards achieving large dividends in the long term rather than short time irregular returns.
An authentic leader must understand his purpose, lead with his heart, be self-disciplined, create connected relationships, and embrace solid values (Bill, 2017). Notably, to achieve these, one must ensure that he or she does not hide their real entity. Many leaders have two profiles; true profile and leadership profile. An authentic leader should be genuine, with only one profile and an aim to use it for self-reflection and inspiring their followers through self-experience. This creates trust and a closer connection between the leader and the followers thereby enabling them create a mutual relationship aimed towards achieving the objectives of the organization (George, 2017).
Bill, G. (2017). What Does Authentic Leadership Really Mean?. HuffPost. Retrieved 18 December 2017, from https://www.huffingtonpost.com/bill-george/what-does-authentic-leade_b_8581814.html
George, B. (2017). True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership – Bill George. Billgeorge.org. Retrieved 18 December 2017, from http://www.billgeorge.org/articles/true-north-discover-your-authentic-leadership/
Leroy, H., Anseel, F., Gardner, W. L., & Sels, L. (2015). Authentic leadership, authentic followership, basic need satisfaction, and work role performance: A cross-level study. Journal of Management, 41(6), 1677-1697.
Kruse, K. (2017). Forbes Welcome. Forbes.com. Retrieved 18 December 2017, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/kevinkruse/2013/05/12/what-is-authentic-leadership/#3c4cb3edef77
Wang, H., Sui, Y., Luthans, F., Wang, D., & Wu, Y. (2014). Impact of authentic leadership on performance: Role of followers’ positive psychological capital and relational processes. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 35(1), 5-21.