Several scenarios of creed-based behavior have been showcased in the modern corporate world. Furthermore, it is essential to note that not all leaders are good regardless of their leadership styles, and the acceptance of this fact serves as the first step towards better corporate leadership. This led to the emergence of the topic of authentic leadership among both leaders and scholars. Authentic leadership is regarded as a genuine leadership whose decisions are grounded on values that have the potential to guide others towards the greater good. This paper seeks to evaluate authentic leadership with regards to its core elements, behaviors defining authentic leaders, and the applicability of authentic leadership in real-life situations.
The usefulness of Authentic Leadership in Organizations
Several studies evidenced that authentic leadership influences organizational variables such as commitment, culture, and ultimately performance. (Rukh, Sharukh & Iqbal, 2018; Hyang, Khiye & Enjung, 2019). Authentic leaders showcase integrity, character, transparency and are more committed to achieving organizational goals and objectives ((Rukh et al., 2018). Employees tend to look at their leaders as role models; hence when their leaders possess positive authentic leadership traits, they emulate it. As a result, employees will also be committed to the organization, and consequently, it will lead to improved organizational performance (Hyang et al., 2019).
Elements of authentic leadership
To first understand the authentic leadership, it is essential first to know what authenticity means. Authentic leadership is more about showing authenticity through an individual’s actions and behaviors, rather than self-proclamation. As a result, authentic leaders can influence their subordinates through passively. There are four core components of authentic leadership, and they include self-awareness, internalized moral perspective, balanced processing, and relational transparency (Northouse, 2019). Self-awareness relates to an individual being aware of their inner and outer qualities and how it applies to them being a leader. It is manifested in a number of ways: being aware of your core values, emotions, identity and motives, and knowing your strengths and weaknesses and trusting one’s feelings. In authentic leadership, faults are not shrugged away as they are viewed as life teachings to be realized in the process of self-actualization that might later manifest into successes.
Second, the internalized moral perspective infers to doing the right thing. Authentic leadership is closely associated with ethics, particularly in matters of fairness. This leadership technique elicits a significant correlation between the moral and psychological components. Moreover, in this context, the morals of an individual are not centered on external factors, but are instead considered self-imposed; hence, functioning as self-regulatory behavior. Third, balanced processing relates to the ability to be fair-minded through inculcating other people’s opinions in the decision-making process. This theory is built on an environment where opinions are both welcomed and encouraged, thereby eliminating bias. Finally, relational transparency is centered on the concept of honesty. An authentic leader seeks to create an environment where everyone is aware of what they stand for. However, this does not suggest necessarily allowing emotions to take control. As a leader, it would be unwise to share everything that comes to mind; nevertheless, it is essential to share thought processes.
Behavior of an Authentic Leader
Authenticity in a leader manifests in several ways; however, based on the leadership characteristic model, authentic leaders understand their purpose, have strong values, create trusting relationships, are self-disciplined, and are compassionate (Northouse, 2019). With regards to understanding their purpose, authentic leaders are required to be self-aware of their positive and negative attributes. In having strong values and self-discipline, the leader has to be result-oriented, task-driven, and focused. Such leaders recognize the objectives of organizations and are able to stay concentrated on the face of different challenges. Moreover, they strive to achieve organizational goals by inculcating teamwork. Third, authentic leadership requires honesty to facilitate the creation of trusting relationships. Authentic leaders do not try hiding their true-self or changing their behavior. Individuals can quickly realize when another person is being honest or not. Lastly, authentic leaders also elicit compassion and empathy. This is because such leaders are usually more concerned about serving others than their recognition or success. Furthermore, they have a higher emotional intelligence that enables them to understand the needs of others easily and by stepping into their shoes.
An Example of an Internationally Recognizable Authentic Business Figure
Authentic leadership differs from other leadership theories as it is based on character rather than style. As a result, authentic leaders are genuine and have high integrity. Ed White, the CEO of General Motors, can be regarded as an authentic leader. He entered the organization when it was experiencing its most significant financial troubles in 2008, which led to it declaring bankruptcy. He entered with a promise of returning the automobile company to greatness, and within a year, he was able to do so. What made him achieve this milestone was his authentic leadership style. The style was present on how he related to his subordinates and customers, where he sought to establish a trusting relationship by appearing in advertisements and providing cashback options.
I regard myself as an authentic leader based on the before-mentioned core elements and behavior of authentic leadership. I am comfortable being in my own skin, and I am not afraid to show it to others. Moreover, I am empathetic as I do not see other people around me suffering, and I would readily do whatever is required to put a smile back to their faces. Lastly, I am a believer in fairness and adherence to personal principles in all instances of decision-making. All through elementary to high school, I have been elected by my peers for various leadership positions, in which o excelled. However, the area that I have identified that requires growth is how I relate to others. If an individual poorly completes a task that I have assigned to them, most of the time, I resort to doing the task myself rather than guiding the again on how the job should be done.
Leadership refers to serving others. There are many theories explaining the different kinds of leadership; however, it is only the authentic leadership theory that has been able to fulfill the definition of leadership successfully. Authentic leadership is a theory established from the frustrations of the shortcomings of the corporate world. Its emphasis offers the in-depth illustration of the moral and ethical issues facing corporations – leaders are displaying more concern towards the betterment of their wellbeing instead of the common good. Authentic leadership has been shown to positively impact organizations with respect to their performance, culture, and employee commitment. Therefore, it is essential that leaders should start embracing it.
Hyang, B., Khiye, H., & Enjung, R. (2019). Authentic leadership, job satisfaction and organizational commitment: The moderating effect of nurse tenure. Journal of Nursing Management, 00, 1-9. Web.
Northouse, P. (2019). Leadership: Theory and practice. (8th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publishers Inc.
Rukh, L., Shahrukh, H.M., & Iqbal, K.Z. (2018) Effect of authentic leadership on organisation commitment: Mediating role of job satisfaction. Journal of Entrepreneurship and Organization Management, 7(3), 2-10. Web.