Leadership Thought #308 – Leadership Is About Authenticity Not Technique

February 29, 2012

How do we understand authentic leadership? | The Institute of Leadership &  Mgt

The best leaders practice authenticity on a daily basis.

When you lead people, it is important to be true to who you are as a person.  Employees will quickly notice it if you try to be something you are not.    When you are true to yourself, you are more likely to be effective in whatever you do. Leadership is not about technique.  It is about passion, focus, commitment, and persistence.

There is no perfect personality profile of a leader despite the opinions expressed in any number of many books of the topic.  I have seen all types of individuals thrive under the mantle of leadership and I’ve seen people who look impressive on paper struggle when they attempt to step up and lead.

Passion is everything when it comes to being a great leader.  As the saying goes, “If the ‘Why’ is big enough, the ‘How’ doesn’t matter.”  You can’t fake passion, at least not for not any extended period of time.  There needs to be something you tap into that motivates besides personal gratification to accomplish anything important.

Focus is also imperative if you want to lead others.  You need to know where you are going and the best route to get there. People need a sense of destination and direction.  Great leaders don’t make it up as they go along.  They follow a clear path to success with a laser like focus.

Commitment is also critical if you want to achieve anything of consequence.  You can never be partially committed to making a difference or being successful.   There will always be multiple distractions and temptations trying to derail your progress.  You must have the commitment necessary to stay the course and keep moving toward your vision.

Persistence is also important.  Life will inevitably test the strength of your commitment.  Every once in a while you may get lucky but more often than not you will have to persist in the face of some level of adversity.  Everyone stumbles.  Leaders intuitively know they must pick themselves up and keep moving forward regardless of the obstacles and naysayers.

There is no single personality profile that maximizes a person’s ability to be passionate, focused, committed and persistent.  However, I would argue that you can’t fake any one of these things and certainly not the combination of them.  People can sniff out a lack on authenticity. When your are true to yourself, genuinely believe in what you are doing, leverage your existing strengths  and tap into the natural energy that exists to help you get there,  almost anything is possible.  Leadership is about authenticity not technique.