Authentic Leadership, this week’s #TChat topic, became popular after Bill George published his book, Authentic Leadership, in 2003. In his book George challenged a new generation to lead with authenticity.
Authentic leaders demonstrate a passion for their purpose, practice their values consistently, and lead with their hearts as well as their heads. They establish long-term, meaningful relationships and have the self-discipline to get results. They know who they are.
While you probably don’t have time to read the book before #TChat on Wednesday, I do encourage you to read this article, “Discovering Your Authentic Leadership,” written by Bill George and a few colleagues for the Harvard Business Review in 2007. The article examines research conducted after the book was published on CEOs hoping to answer the question, “How can people become and remain authentic leaders?”
The research found that authentic leaders develop self-awareness from their experiences and they act on it by adhering to their values, sometimes at risk to themselves. Authentic leaders recognize that leadership is not about their success or about getting loyal subordinates to follow them. They know the key to a successful organization is having empowered leaders at all levels, including those who have no direct reports. They not only inspire those around them, they empower those individuals to step up and lead.
Anthony Tjan, co-author of Smarts, Guts, and Luck, also researched authentic leadership and found that self-awareness, more than another leadership quality, is evident in every great entrepreneur, manager, and leader; self-awareness. Tran believes that without self-awareness, you can’t understand your strengths and weakness, your “super powers” versus your “kryptonite.” Management expert, Victor Lipman, agrees that self-awareness is the quality that enables “high-octane” leaders to work. Effective leaders assess their own abilities, their strenghts and weaknesses, their effect on others, and the gaps that needed to be filled.
Self-awareness has both personal and professional benefits. Being aware of your strengths and weaknesses as a leader can help you gain others trust and increase your credibility. Professionally, a self-aware leader knows they always have things to learn, modeling for their employees that you never have all the answers and that it is okay to ask for help. A self-aware leader creates an organization that is constantly learning, one that embraces innovation and agility, two of the hallmarks of high performing organizations.
I have to admit that after reading so much about the importance of self-awareness as a leadership trait I was pretty shocked when I saw the resuts of the 2013 Executive Coaching Survey. The survey of hundreds of CEOs found that nearly two-thirds of them do not receive coaching or leadership advice from outside consultants or coaches. In fact;
- Almost 66% of CEOs get no coaching or leadership advice from outside consultants
- A full 100% of bosses say they would be receptive to making changes based on feedback.
- Nearly 80% of directors say their CEO would welcome coaching.
Ironically, almost all of the CEOs surveyed said they would like coaching to enhance their development.
I am looking forward to hearing more from #TChat radio show guest, Todd DeWett. Todd’s TedX talk is a great preview for this week’s topic!