Expert outlines traits of 'authentic' leadership

6/18/2013

While many leaders display one personality at work and one outside of the office, 'authentic' leaders do not need to act as they are 'self-aware and genuine'.

That's the advice handed down by leadership expert Kevin Kruse, writing for forbes.com, who believes that authentic leaders are self-actualised individuals who are aware of their strengths and limitations.

"They also show their real selves to their followers," he said. "They do not act one way in private and another in public; they don't hide their mistakes or weaknesses out of fear of looking weak."

Furthermore, authentic leaders are totally mission driven and maintain a focus on results, putting company goals ahead of their own.

Authentic leaders also lead with their heart, which could interest employees currently undertaking leadership development courses.

"They are not afraid to show their emotions, their vulnerability and to connect with their employees," he explained. "This does not mean authentic leaders are "soft". In fact communicating in a direct manner is critical to successful outcomes, but it's done with empathy; directness without empathy is cruel."

Finally, Kruse believes authentic leaders plan for the long-term. For instance, it is nice to beat quarterly estimates but the bigger picture is much more important as it can pay 'large dividends over time'.

Kruse's advice follows similarly sage words from management authority Michael Hyatt, writing for michaelhyatt.com, who believes authentic leaders have insight and demonstrate initiative.