(Image by Devanath from Pixabay)
“Authentic leadership is revealed in the alignment of what you think, what you say, and what you do”.
Authentic Leadership continues to be a driving force in my daily interactions. Amazing how I stumbled across this leadership style during my dissertation process back in 2013 but it is something I genuinely believe makes a difference in the work environment.
I am also amazed by the number of folks who only know about this leadership style after talking with me or sitting in one of my presentations. Looks like I need to do a better job of spreading the benefits of Authentic Leadership. 😊
I was asked back in January if I would be willing to be the guest speaker for the local Association of Florida Colleges (AFC) monthly professional development program. Inspiration Man was quick to say yes, and the topic they requested was Authentic Leadership. I had to dust off my files but thought this was an excellent opportunity to share Authentic Leadership with colleagues at my new school.
This was one of the first time I was able to stand in front of a group of people since early 2020 due to COVID-19. I was excited to be in front of live folks again in my efforts to move the crowd.
I started the presentation with a brief introduction to Authentic Leadership and the benefits it brings to the work environment.
Authentic Leadership is rooted in positive psychology and allows leaders to improve their self-awareness and regulated behaviors. The importance of self-awareness becomes more evident daily as I interact with others.
All Authentic Leadership variables are important but none of the others come into play if a leader is not self-aware. This was a major feature of my presentation to my AFC colleagues. There were several head nods when I made this point and a couple folks asked if they could expand on how self-awareness helps them daily.
The four variables were shared: self-awareness, relational transparency, internalized moral perspective and balanced processing. The variables were highlighted together as a quick overview and then I did a complete breakdown to show how each enhances the work environment.
- Self-awareness—the leader displays a full understanding of strengths, weaknesses and how others view their leadership
- Relational Transparency—the leader presents their authentic self to build trust. This includes consistent words, thoughts, and actions.
- Internalized moral perspective—the leader integrates personal morals with self-perspective. Self-awareness enhances the leader’s ability to understand how their morals influence decision making.
- Balanced processing—the leader can view multiple sides of an issue (positive and negative) before deciding on the issue. This variable encourages direct reports to provide input because the leader wants their feedback. This improves job satisfaction for direct reports.
I spent extra time on balanced processing because I want to train new leaders to understand how important this is in the work environment. Staff will speak up with new ideas IF they believe input is wanted and will be acted on (as applicable). Leaders who want input from staff need to let them know they are willing to listen but there are times when something truly cannot be done. Nothing wrong with this because it enhances relational transparency in the work environment.
The AFC members had a lot of questions about Authentic Leadership and how they can improve their self-awareness. I am happy with the dialogue we started during the AFC event and look forward to sharing Authentic Leadership with other organizations soon. Got a couple requests to bring my presentation into departmental meetings and I will say YES when the invites come in. 😊
How has your Authentic Leadership knowledge grown?
“The power for authentic leadership is found not in external arrangements, but in the human heart”.
(Parker J. Palmer)