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Authentic Leadership – Leading with Character


Bill George, author of Authentic Leadership, defines authentic leaders as “genuine, moral, and character-based leaders: People of the highest integrity, committed to building enduring organizations…who have a deep sense of purpose and are true to their core values who have the courage to build their companies to meet the needs of all their stakeholders, and who recognize the importance of their service to society.”

George further identifies five qualities that authentic leaders possess:

  1. Understanding their purpose
  2. Practicing solid values
  3. Leading with heart
  4. Establishing connected relationships
  5. Demonstrating self-discipline

So why all the buzz around authentic leadership? In Birgit Ohlin’s article Positive Leadership: How to be an Authentic Leader she discusses how “an employee’s perception of authentic leadership is the strongest single predictor of job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and workplace happiness.” When employees genuinely feel uplifted, empowered, and supported by leaders they are apt to be motivated and productive. Similarly, an environment fostered from a leader’s disingenuous approach can quickly have a negative impact on employee satisfaction.

Being an authentic leader, or simply authentic in general, is not superficial; it is an expression of one’s character. It is important to note that you do not need to be in a leadership role or running a business to act with authenticity. Your daily interactions with colleagues can be positively impacted when approached authentically. Most people respond better when they are approached in a real and genuine manner rather than with a fake or forced approach. Being an authentic leader is not about being a perfect leader. No one is perfect, everyone makes mistakes. It’s how we learn, grow, and apply the lessons learned from our mistakes to future situations that make someone an effective leader.

Authentic leaders recognize and acknowledge their strengths as well as their weaknesses. Authentic leaders display self-control and are self-aware even in the most difficult of situations. There are no surprises with an authentic leader, they are consistent and you know the person you are going to get.

“Authentic leaders are not afraid to show their emotions, their vulnerability, or connect with their employees.” ~Kevin Kruse

Are you an authentic leader? How can you apply these qualities to your daily interactions with your team?

Becca UsherBecca Usher

Becca joined Aureus Group Healthcare Leadership in September 2013 and has more than 15 years of experience in the healthcare industry. With experience on the provider, payer, and insurance broker sides of healthcare, she possesses the operational, clinical, and regulatory knowledge necessary to adequately assess and screen candidates. As a recruiter, Becca focuses on healthcare administration searches across the United States with a priority focus in the Midwest. Becca graduated from East Carolina University in Greenville, NC with a bachelor’s degree in exercise sport science. She also earned a Master of Healthcare Administration as well as an MBA from the University of Maryland University College in Adelphi, MD.

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