Authentic Leadership: Growing Pains - Deepstash
Authentic Leadership: Growing Pains

Authentic Leadership: Growing Pains

In the last 10 years, authenticity has been a huge buzzword in the business press. Professionals who are good at their core job, are more often than not struggling in roles they get after they are promoted, as the same skills that made them successful are not enough.

These transition positions require us to leave our established identity and move towards new skills, often at the cost of a complete personality overhaul. This identity crisis while shifting towards a new role feels inauthentic.

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Being authentic and sincere is only possible if we grow ourselves through learning, which happens when we do things we aren’t very comfortable with.

We have to move out of the comfort zone we have created in our existing job roles and take the approach of self-authoring, by experimenting and learning things we haven’t done before.

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  • The word ‘sincere’ comes from ancient Rome where merchants selling statues would often hide the cracks and flaws with wax. The ones who weren’t dishonest used to hang a sign outside their shop saying “Sine Cera”, meaning without wax.
  • The world ‘authenticity’ comes from the Greek word ‘authenteos’ which means: What is done by one’s own hands.**

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  1. Authenticity is being true to yourself: But if the ‘self’ is changing, how is one authentic to the past, present or future self at the same time?
  2. Authenticity is being sincere: It is about saying what we mean, and meaning what we say.
  3. Authenticity is being true to your values: If one has an ingrained value, one cannot sabotage it.

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A professional moving up the ladder wants to be successful and have the desired impact, but if in doing so has to sacrifice the ingrained values and integrity, one would end up being less sincere and more ‘political’.

The answer to this paradox may be on how we see our job. If we are only focused on content delivery, knowledge, ideas and research, we would not be able to do anything with ourselves. We have to focus on owning the space where we work with our presence, creating engagement and increasing learning.

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Authenticity In Psychology

Our lives are uncertain and impermanent, and paradoxically, this can lead us towards living authentically, as we realize that death is unavoidable, values are subjective, and life by itself is flux.

The Self-Perception Theory reveals that people manipulate their own information so that the audience is impressed. People portray authenticity and manipulate their behaviours to appear real when it is necessary.

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Authentic Leaders

They are people of the highest integrity, committed to building enduring organizations. They have a deep sense of purpose and self-discipline, are true to their core values, dare to build their companies to meet the needs of their stakeholders, and recognize the importance of their service to society.

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It can be challenging to hold onto your authenticity when you are around people who seem fake. Whether it is in a work setting, community interactions, or any other social encounter, it can be awkward to know how to respond without compromising your own internal guide. A fake laugh, unreasonably bubbly personality , or tone of voice that is incongruous with what is going on can be more than just off-putting; it can influence interactions and really throw us off at times.

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