A leadership model, which believes that genuine leadership that basis its decisions on values can guide people towards the greater good.
This guide will examine authentic leadership : the past and the present context. Authentic leadership is a rather new theory, yet the core ideas of the leadership model can be traced back to Ancient Greece. Authentic leadership is another concept with roots in Ancient Greek philosophy.
Ancient Greek philosophers concurred authenticity to be an important state of being, as it emphasized being in control of your own destiny and who you truly are as a person. The word authentic comes from the Greek word, authentikos , which means principal or genuine. Authentic persons were true themselves and their surroundings. Furthermore, authenticity was closely linked to the Ancient Greek model of cardinal virtues.
The virtues called the person to:. By developing these virtues, people were thought to improve their inner self and the relationships they had with other people. An authentic leader, therefore, needed the four virtues in order to lead in a just and good manner. To the Ancient Greeks, authentic leadership was moral and selfless to a degree. Throughout the human history, philosophers, musicians and artists have explored this concept.
In the Western world, some of the most famous minds have talked about authenticity and authentic behavior. Descartes suggested authenticity is the following of your inner voice, which calls for responsible behavior. Authentic behavior was therefore often a natural existence, which was available for us all. In the s, authentic leadership entered the discussion and its inclusion was mostly driven by the need to reflect on certain negative elements the rising corporate culture had brought about. In the early stages of the theorizing, authenticity became attached as a reflection of organizations as well as individuals.
An organization could start highlighting its authenticity by acting in a responsible manner, reacting to uncertainty and being creative. Although the conversation around authenticity within the corporate culture began in the s, it took a while before the concept was fully explored as a leadership model. He saw the problems of organizations often stemming from doing the opposite of that — hiding the truth, in order to avoid having to deal with problems. To Bennis, leaders were made and not born, suggesting that authentic leadership is at the grasp of everyone. George published a book called Authentic Leadership in and later refined his ideas further in True North.
According to Northouse,.
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A year after Authentic Leadership was published, the conversation got busier and the Gallup Leadership Institute of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln held its inaugural summit on Authentic Leadership Development. The book restated the idea that leadership is not something you are born with, but that authentic leadership, especially, requires constant development and growth.
George developed an idea of leadership as a journey, with three distinct phases:. Authentic leadership is in its infancy, which means the concept still lacks certain universal answers or theories to specific questions. As we will explore in the section about the advantages and disadvantages of the theory, the lack of proper theory or model is sometimes criticized as the biggest flaw of the idea. But the core ideas of authentic leadership have evolved and academics are continuously researching the theory and its validity further.
The theory values opinions and the theory has a strong ethical foundation, just as the concept of authenticity has had throughout history. Authentic leadership can be viewed through three different ideas:. Interestingly, authentic leadership is not always seen inconclusive of other leadership theories. Bruce J. Avolio and Fred Luthans explored the idea of authentic leadership as the root construct of other leadership theories in The High Impact Leader.
According to Avolio and Luthans, authentic leadership can manifest as directive, participative or even transformational leadership. To understand authentic leadership, you must naturally define authenticity. The word authentic can be rather difficult, as it has become a fad.
Self-proclamations of authenticity tend to take place in the world of politics, entertainment and business. In her New York Times article , Stephanie Rosenbloom gave examples of celebrities claiming their authenticity. In order for you to become an authentic leader, you need to first achieve clarity about your inner self and then start showcasing the actual self through your actions. There are essentially three cornerstones of authenticity in terms of authentic leadership. These are:. There are four core components of authentic leadership: self-awareness , internalized moral perspective , balanced processing and relational transparency.
Walumba et al discussed these four elements in their research paper Authentic Leadership: Development and validation of a theory-based measure in Their paper was based on limited empirical data, which suggested authentic leadership relies on the four elements and these components are ultimately the aspects, which strengthen this model for operational use.
Furthermore, the component is crucial if you want to develop the other three areas of authentic leadership. In an authentic leadership environment, mistakes are not hidden or shrugged away.
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Weaknesses are life lessons to be learned and the self-actualization is a constant struggle, which will manifest in mistakes and successes. Avolio and Tara S.
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Wernsing highlighted in the essay Practicing Authentic Leadership three ways authentic leaders practice self-awareness:. The second core component of authentic leadership relates to doing the right thing. As mentioned earlier, authentic leadership is closely related to ethics and especially the concern of fairness. The theory has always had a strong psychological and moral component. Furthermore, the moral perspective on leadership and the different behaviors it brings about is not based on external factors.
The moral perspective is not something the authentic leader finds imposed upon him or her by the organization or even society. Instead, the self-regulatory behavior is self-imposed and comes from the leaders internalized moral values. The leadership is based on openness and fairness; on an environment where opinions are not just welcomed but also encouraged. The idea is to ensure opposing viewpoints will be voiced before the leader, sometimes together with subordinates, considers the actions. Therefore, authentic leadership focuses on the collective objectives and understands common knowledge and diversity in opinion can help achieve these more clearly.
The key to balanced processing is the understanding of bias. First, that his or her own ideas are responses to certain triggers, and second, that seeking multiple opinions can provide better understanding of an issue in question. Competing perspectives can yield better results than focusing on cohesion of opinions. Finally, authentic leadership rests on the concept of genuineness. When authentic leaders communicate and act, they do it honestly. There is no room for hidden agendas or mind-games in authentic leadership.
It seeks to create an environment where everyone knows where he or she stands in terms of his or her relations with the leader. Nonetheless, you need to share your thought processes with your subordinates and the decisions that are made, must not be shrouded in mystery. But what is enough transparency?
According to Avolio and Luthans,. Being transparent may cause feelings of vulnerability at times but should not make you so vulnerable as to invoke anxiety or invite exploitation from others. Academics and proponents of the theory have sought to measure the levels of authenticity leaders highlight.
Four distinct measurements and scales have appeared out of these experiments. The item questionnaire measures tendencies such as:.
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The scale has mainly been used in educational environment, measuring how schools are organized. The Authentic Leadership Questionnaire ALQ surveys the subordinates in order to find the authenticity levels of the leader. The measure is specifically designed with the authentic leadership theory in mind and therefore it focuses on the major four core elements of the theory: self-awareness , relational transparency , internalized moral perspective and balanced processing. In terms of academic research of the theory, ALQ is the most commonly used and preferred scale.
The survey can be bought and used either as a self-assessment tool or for measuring multiple leaders or supervisors at once. You can find it online at Mind Garden , for example. A relatively recent scale, the Authentic Leadership Inventory, came out in The measure builds on the research done with ALQ and the findings it has made in terms of authenticity.
Nonetheless, research has shown problems with the technique and the reliability of the results. As the measurement is free for everyone, the scale has received plenty of attention, despite this criticism.