Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Authenticity: undisputed credibility.

Real leadership, powerful leadership, leadership in 30 days. Leadership can be packaged in many different ways, but when it comes down to it leadership needs to be authentic. The word authenticity hails from an existential philosophy of knowing and understanding thyself. Today, authenticity for leaders is the first step towards effective leadership.

When broken down, the concept of authenticity has two parts according to Dr. Naddaff, president of the Management Research Group.
Authenticity is
1) know thyself
2) express thyself.

Knowing thyself is the seeking to understand who you are - your beliefs, values, needs, wants, emotions, character. It's learning what makes you tick, what makes you work, and what makes your heart sing. It's basically a lifelong walk. (Spiritually, emotionally, mentally, physically)

The second part, expressing thyself is the set of behaviors that we use to fully express who we are, to show our true selves to the people around us. (Expressing all of the above)

So the question that beckons today's leaders are - do you know yourself? And if so, do your behaviors genuinely reflect what you value, believe, and love?
Everyday I try to cultivate and know myself better. Sometimes it resembles digging in the garden, pulling out the weeds and making sure there's room for growth. Other times it simply means practicing and making time in my life for the things that make me feel healthy, and enjoy.

The act of actually writing in my journal, or running a few miles are the ways in which I can express myself, and who I am. That's why learning and educating myself are two of the things at the top of my priority list, because they foster a) knowing myself and b) providing me with different approaches and ways for me to express myself.

The bottom line is that when those we lead see that our knowing and expressing align, then and only then are we truly practicing authentic leadership. It's when we truly come alive. The whole energy that we are made of is channeled. And when this energy is channeled, that's when we engage others, and spark the fire.

Again, this is a lifelong journey. But to begin we have to do the work. And it starts with lighting the match, adding another log, and moving the embers. Only then can we watch the flames grow.

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