Authenticity is at Least Four Things

you need to be on the lookout for a brilliant antagonist.pngThis 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