Every great leader has developed their own very unique style of leadership; to become an authentic leader, each one of us must develop our own leadership style. But keep in mind it is not the style of leadership that is important; to be a successful leader, what counts is the authenticity of the leader. Bill George in his book Authentic Leadership has identified five dimensions of authentic leaders. They are as follows:
- Leaders must understand their leadership purpose. Authentic leaders must find their fit between the company’s goals (sales, profits, and growth) and their own personal passions and underlying motivations as a leader.
- Leaders are defined by the moral compass of their values. But more importantly, authentic leaders must demonstrate actions aligned with their values.
- Authentic leaders engage the hearts of employees by inspiring their sense of purpose. Employees must believe their work has a deeper purpose and meaning to enhance their own lives. As authentic leaders relate to the heart of an employee, they demonstrate compassion for the life challenges and difficulties of others. Authentic leaders lead from their heart to the employee’s heart.
- At the center of being an authentic leader is the quality of relationship building. To engage today’s employee requires accessibility to leaders and demands a more caring and personal relationship. A connection, built on openness and trust, must be created between leader and employee to strengthen commitments to work together toward a shared purpose and common goal.
- Authentic leaders must behave with consistency and self-discipline. To effectively build trust, leaders must be self-disciplined so they are consistent in demonstrating their values through their decisions and actions.
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