Authentic Leadership

Becoming a Leader People Want to Follow

Live up to their trust.

© iStockphoto/nataq

You may have heard of "authentic leadership." Books, leadership courses, and even businesses have been built around this idea. But it's often easier to identify authentic leaders than it is to define what makes them that way.

What do the words "authentic leader" actually mean? What truly makes one, and why is it worth the effort to become one?

There are many different answers to these questions. In this article, we'll discuss why it is so important, and we'll examine the different characteristics that make someone authentic as a leader.

Why Authentic Leadership?

Leadership today is very different from leadership in our parents' generation. The old "top down" style of management just doesn't work anymore. Workers generally want to be fully engaged, and committed to what they're doing. They want to feel as if their work matters. And they want to believe in the people who are in charge.

Because of these higher expectations, it's vital for leaders to know how to inspire passion and confidence in the people they're leading. When people work alongside a truly authentic leader, they'll often give their whole hearts and minds to the cause. In these situations, a spirit of teamwork and loyalty can spread throughout an organization, resulting in high morale and producing extraordinary results.

Authentic leaders inspire trust in their teams. People are more willing to be open about problems, which means that those problems are more likely to get fixed, instead of being ignored.

What is Authentic Leadership?

So, authentic leadership can inspire people to pull together, work hard, and communicate. But how do you lead in an authentic way? What does this involve?

There's no easy answer for these questions, because it means a lot of different things and involves a diverse group of skills, actions, and behaviors. At root, however, authentic leadership is all about

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