Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Harv Bus Rev. 2007 Feb;85(2):129-30, 132-8, 157.

Discovering your authentic leadership.

Author information

1
Harvard Business School, Boston, USA.

Abstract

The ongoing problems in business leadership over the past five years have underscored the need for a new kind of leader in the twenty-first century: the authentic leader. Author Bill George, a Harvard Business School professor and the former chairman and CEO of Medtronic, and his colleagues, conducted the largest leadership development study ever undertaken. They interviewed 125 business leaders from different racial, religious, national, and socioeconomic backgrounds to understand how leaders become and remain authentic. Their interviews showed that you do not have to be born with any particular characteristics or traits to lead. You also do not have to be at the top of your organization. Anyone can learn to be an authentic leader. The journey begins with leaders understanding their life stories. Authentic leaders frame their stories in ways that allow them to see themselves not as passive observers but as individuals who learn from their experiences. These leaders make time to examine their experiences and to reflect on them, and in doing so they grow as individuals and as leaders. Authentic leaders also work hard at developing self-awareness through persistent and often courageous self-exploration. Denial can be the greatest hurdle that leaders face in becoming self-aware, but authentic leaders ask for, and listen to, honest feedback. They also use formal and informal support networks to help them stay grounded and lead integrated lives. The authors argue that achieving business results over a sustained period of time is the ultimate mark of authentic leadership. It may be possible to drive short-term outcomes without being authentic, but authentic leadership is the only way to create long-term results.

PMID:
17345686
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center