Beyond Authenticity

Linked-In-icon[1]Wendy recently asked LinkedIn’s Fortune100 Coaches Network (F1CN) Group: Challenging thinking about authenticity. What’s your view?

Here’s how I answered:

My view: The buzz of ‘authenticity’ is well-meaning — too many decent people simply aren’t mustering (or demonstrating) the courageousness needed, on a regular enough basis, to be (or seen as) truly authentic leaders. So if all the ‘authenticity’ talk is nudging them in the right direction, then bravo.

Yet my view extends to the belief that ‘authenticity’ not the end-all/be-all that it’s so often posited to be.

I’ll put it this way: If I’m a total jerk, then “being true to myself; maintaining strict coherence between what I feel and what I say or do; and maintaining values-based choices,” as the article suggests I do, then I’m not becoming a better leader — I’m becoming even more of a jerk! And with all respect to the kind, decent people out there, there are an awful lot of flat-out jerks in leadership positions these days. Hey, under the right set of circumstances, even the best-of-the-best can be a total jerks, you know.

So I coach my clients to go beyond ‘authenticity.’ I coach them to be their better selves when leading others — to be their best selves. Does that, sometimes, challenge their courageousness? Yup. But I offer one of my ‘leadership haiku’ to address the concern:

why does the FIRST step
always seem more difficult
BEFORE, than AFTER?!

What Next?

If this post helped you learn something about yourself, then great! Be sure to share your insight with others as a way of 'locking in' your learning. While you're at it, I'd also appreciate you telling them about the other self-study resources available from LeadershipTraction including:Thanks.

- bz

P.S. If you have a question or comment about this post, just let me know. I'll do my best to get back to you, straightaway.


Some Leadership Haiku

As you may know, I’ve been writing my Leadership Haiku for several years now. Here are a few of my recent favorites:

creative thinking
doesn’t seek just ONE answer
it looks for many

if you succeed with
everything you ever try
you play it too safe

ever stop to think
that the tings you say today
will be remembered?

want to up your game?
learn to make TOUGH decisions
don’t just “solve” problems

what’s the difference
between “just okay” and GREAT!?
Your team needs to know!

create advocates
by going the extra mile
when you don’t have to