Authenticity is at Least Four Things
This post is inspired by my conversation with Karissa Thacker author of, The Art of Authenticity.
Authenticity is not one thing. It is at least four.
#1. Selves-Awareness: Know who you are.
Self-awareness is the heart of authentic leadership. Karissa likes to use the term “selves awareness.”
You need to work on your selves-awareness, not your self-awareness. There is no fixed self…. Different aspects of your selves come out in different situations. The Art of Authenticity
- How are you like all other people?
- How are you like some other people?
- How are you like no other person?
Authentic leaders habitually reflect on personal strengths, passions, motivations, and values.
360 degree feedback is one way to expand self-awareness. Another way is to develop yourself while you’re facing deep challenges.
#2. Relational Transparency: Let yourself be seen.
You get what you see with authentic leaders. Manipulation, game-playing, backstabbing, and hidden agendas are inconsistent with authenticity.
It takes personal confidence to let yourself be seen. Authentic leaders are “seen” when they declare their beliefs, thoughts, motivations, and intentions.
“Practice proactive transparency by telling your story.” Karissa Thacker
#3. Balanced Processing: Blend your thinking with others.
“You need to be on the lookout for a brilliant antagonist or three for every team. The brilliant antagonist pushes the team’s thinking in different directions and is willing to oppose the predominant view with intensity.” The Art of Authenticity
- Solicit opposing viewpoints
- Consider multiple options and perspectives.
- Act deliberately not impulsively.
#4. Internalized Moral Perspective: Follow your personal GPS.
“Authenticity is not a value neutral concept.” Karissa Thacker
Authentic leaders embody their values.
What is your definition of authentic leadership?
How might leaders pursue and practice authentic leadership?
Karissa Thacker is founder and president of Strategic Performance Solutions Inc., a management training and consulting firm dedicated to elevating people to reach their highest potential and career satisfaction. She is the author of The Art of Authenticity: Tools To Become An Authentic Leader And Your Best Self (Wiley). For more information visit www.KarissaThacker.com.
Great statement! “You need to be on the lookout for a brilliant antagonist or three for every team.” I told my Deputy, if you continue to agree with everything I say, one of us is redundant.
Thanks Duane. You nailed it. Thanks for your illustration. 🙂
What a great post. Dovetails with the Leaders Stress post from earlier this week, any time a leader is less than authentic, it will cause stress for them.
Thanks Chris. I’m with you. Faking it makes the daily stresses of leadership worse! Cheers
It is so limiting and almost certainly less valuable to NOT include the most diverse team possible when addressing meaningful situations!!! Shame on you if you believe YOUR thinking is the best … Sadly, you and your organization will get exactly what you deserve!!!
Thanks John. I’m sad to say that I got exactly what I deserved for a long time. 🙂 … Diverse teams are worth it.
Wow, that doesn’t read like it was intended… Should read: “Shame on ANYONE who believes THEIR thinking s best … Sadly, they and their organizayption will get exactly what they deserve!!!” I cannot accept that the original form fit YOU even with ‘you’ in the wording!!! I refuse to accept…
Thanks John. Just so you know, I really enjoyed your previous comment. It didn’t seem harsh, perhaps because I feel I know you.
HI John and Dan et all- Such a great chat Dan and I had. The irony is sometimes we discuss the less meaningful decisions to death like where to have a group dinner. Clearly identifying the value of real discourse and then having the courage to mix it up with respect is a fundamental of operating In this 21st century where markets can reset in fundamental ways with lightning speed.
Good stuff from Karissa, Dan. I particularly like “Relational Transparency.” Authenticity is so crucial to building relationships as a leader, and relationships are the bedrock of our influence.
Four outstanding points on authenticity….a very critical competency of a successful leader. In Bill George’s book – Authentic Leadership: Rediscovering the Secrets to Creating Lasting Value, bill defines five quality dimensions of an authentic leader.
1. Understanding their purpose
2. Practicing solid values
3. Leading with heart
4. Establishing enduring relationships
5. Demonstrating self-discipline
Great post, Dan. Keep them coming, Paul