There is no doubt about that authenticity is key component of leadership effectiveness. What has thus not been so clear is what we mean by authenticity. I found the recent article in Harvard Business Review by Herminia Ibarra (Jan-Feb 2015) ” The Problem with Authenticity” addressing this topic very spot on. Sometimes we may stick too long with comfortable behaviour because we feel we feel we are being authentic to one-self. However, in order to grow as leaders and human beings we need to step out of the comfort zone and try out new leadership styles and behaviors that our new role calls for. When trying out the new behaviors and styles they may not feel natural to us and hence we may not feel we are being true to ourselves. Hermania asks- Which self? We have many selves depending on the roles we play in life. We evolve and transform with experience in new roles. I personally work continuously with many leaders on developing their “leadership brand” in transitions and I experience often exactly what Hermania talks about. It is important to keep the parts of the “current self” what works in the role and new environment but learn to let go of what may be outdated and lead us astray and set us up for derailment. But is it not so easy always to do in practice and many leaders needs to challenged and coached on this topic. I highly recommend this article for anyone interested in Leadership Authenticity.
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