Leaders work too hard at the skills of leadership and not hard enough at becoming themselves.
Real leaders change us effortlessly. Who they are influences us more than what they do. Comfort with themselves and their belief in us gives us courage to open our hearts to their influence.
Authentic leaders give us courage to see strength in ourselves because they don’t need us to affirm their worth. Phony leaders fear power in others and work to control rather than release.
Jim Parker, former CEO of Southwest Airlines said his favorite word of advice to leaders is, “Be yourself.” Warren Bennis said, “Becoming a leader is synonymous with becoming yourself.”
The leader on a white horse is a myth propagated by our own fears and neediness.
Finding genuine leadership:
Jot down memories of people and events. Who comes to mind when you think of your past? How are they living in you today?
Authenticity consists of your responses to influential individuals and formative circumstances combined with your genetic code. You can’t change genetics. You can interpret and assimilate circumstances and relationships.
Say what you really think. “Candor says, ‘Here’s what I think. What do you think?’” Kim Scott, author of, Radical Candor. The courage to say what you think is formative. Our words impact who we become.
If you can’t say what you think, you can’t become who you were meant to be.
Abandon yourself to a grand idea and live it in small ways everyday. Don’t dabble on the edges of purposeful work. There is no authority except in submission to something meaningful that lies outside ourselves – a calling that finds expression in a cause.
I mentioned that our responses to circumstances and people combined with genetics constitutes authenticity. What other components of authenticity do you see?
How might leaders become themselves?