What is Authentic Leadership?

Authentic leadership means staying true to oneself without self-deception. Self-deception involves denying or rationalising opposing evidence and logical arguments. Being honest with oneself is essential in this type of leadership approach.

Studies have found that employee perceptions of authentic leadership are highly correlated with job satisfaction, including organisational commitment and work happiness. Furthermore, there is a positive relationship between authentic leadership and employee performance.

In this text, you will learn about the importance of authentic leadership and how it can positively impact employee perceptions, job satisfaction, organisational commitment, and work happiness.

Understanding Authentic Leadership

Authentic leadership is a powerful force that strengthens by staying true to oneself. It involves navigating the unpredictable waters of leadership with honesty, shunning self-deception and embracing self-awareness. This approach transforms leaders and creates deep connections with those they lead.

Authentic leadership is about acknowledging strengths and vulnerabilities, allowing honesty to become a powerful catalyst for trust. Authentic leaders build strong bonds with their teams by embracing their narratives, values, and principles, fostering an environment of openness and integrity.

Individual differences play a crucial role in shaping each leader’s unique style. Personal history and defining moments blend to create a one-of-a-kind leadership melody. Life triggers become the compass that guides authentic leaders toward their true north.

Authentic leadership is an alchemical process transforms life experiences into a leadership goldmine. It’s not just a style but a revelation.

What do authentic leaders possess?

Authentic leaders possess a unique blend of qualities and characteristics that set them apart in leadership. These attributes combine to create a distinctive and compelling leadership style that resonates with those they lead.

Some key traits that authentic leaders typically possess include:

Self-Awareness: Authentic leaders have a deep understanding of themselves, including their strengths, weaknesses, values, and beliefs. This self-awareness forms the foundation of their leadership approach, guiding their decisions and interactions.

Transparency: Authentic leaders are open and honest in their communication. They are willing to share their thoughts, feelings, and vulnerabilities with their team, creating an atmosphere of trust and authenticity.

Consistency: Authentic leaders are consistent in their actions and behaviours. They walk the talk and adhere to their values, even in challenging situations.

Empathy: These leaders demonstrate a genuine concern for the well-being of their team members. They are attuned to the emotions and needs of others, and they actively listen and provide support.

Courage: Authentic leaders are fearless in taking risks or standing up for their convictions, even when faced with opposition. They dare to make difficult decisions and challenge the status quo.

Inclusivity: Authentic leaders value diverse perspectives and actively seek input from their team members. They create an inclusive environment where everyone’s voice is heard and respected.

Ethical Behaviour: Ethics and integrity are central to authentic leadership. These leaders prioritise doing what is proper and ethical, even when it takes a lot of work.

Positive Influence: Authentic leaders inspire and motivate others through passion, enthusiasm, and optimism. Their positive attitude can be contagious, uplifting the entire team.

Adaptability: Authentic leaders are open to change and are willing to adapt their approach based on new information or circumstances. They are flexible but relatively agile in their leadership style.

Long-Term Perspective: Authentic leaders focus on long-term goals and sustainable outcomes. They are not solely driven by short-term gains but strive for lasting impact.

Resilience: Authentic leaders show resilience in the face of challenges and setbacks. They bounce back from adversity and use it as an opportunity for growth and learning.

Servant Leadership: Authentic leaders often embody the principles of servant leadership, where they prioritise the needs of their team members and work to support their growth and development.

These traits collectively create a charismatic and impactful leadership style that resonates with others and fosters a positive and productive work environment.

Characteristics of the Authentic Leader

Self Awareness

Understanding yourself deeply, including your nature, is known as self-awareness. This includes knowing your strengths and weaknesses, which can unlock your ability to comprehend and facilitate natural behaviour change.

Relational Transparency

Relational transparency involves being open and truthful in relationships, a crucial aspect of authentic leadership. Self-disclosure, or sharing personal information such as thoughts, dreams, fears, and goals, is a meaningful way to build trust and strengthen relationships.

Balanced Processing

Balanced processing refers to creating an open and engaging environment and seeking different perspectives, especially those that challenge your own. This involves objectively analysing the perspectives of others without any distortions, denials, or exaggerations.

Strong Moral Code

Lastly, a moral perspective is crucial for grounding leaders in morality and ethical behaviour. This means that their values and everyday actions should align, as their daily actions reflect their values.

Authentic Leadership

How to Develop an Authentic Leadership Style

Developing an authentic leadership style is a journey that demands intentional effort, introspection, and an unwavering commitment to continuous growth. By embracing specific strategies, you can unlock your true leadership potential and motivate those around you. Let’s delve into some practical approaches to cultivating an authentic leadership style:


Start your journey by regularly reflecting on yourself. Allocate time to contemplate your values, strengths, and areas for improvement. This reflective process will help you clarify your authentic self and lay the foundation for your leadership approach.

Genuine transparency

Authentic leadership thrives on honesty and openness. Be original by sharing your thoughts, feelings, and experiences with your team. Authentic leaders don’t hide behind masks; they embrace vulnerability and create genuine connections with others.

Active listening

Effective communication is at the heart of authentic leadership. Practice active listening by giving your full attention to others, seeking to understand their perspectives without judgment. This fosters a culture of respect and encourages open dialogue.

Leading by example

Your actions speak louder than words. Demonstrate the values and behaviours you expect from your team members. Authentic leaders model the way and inspire others through their consistent actions.

Building relationships

Authentic leadership is built on genuine relationships. Take the time to connect with your team members on a personal level. Show genuine interest in their well-being, aspirations, and challenges.

Developing others

Invest in the growth and development of your team members. Provide mentorship, coaching, and opportunities for skill-building. You amplify your authentic leadership impact by empowering others to reach their full potential.

Openness to suggestions

Authentic leaders create an environment where ideas are valued and embraced. Encourage your team to share their thoughts, even if they differ from your own. Embrace diverse perspectives and consider them as valuable contributions.

Embrace feedback

Welcome constructive feedback from your team and peers. Use feedback as a tool for self-improvement and growth. Authentic leaders view feedback as an opportunity to refine their leadership style.

Continuous learning

Commit to lifelong learning and personal development. Stay curious and seek opportunities to expand your knowledge, skills, and perspectives. A growth mindset is a hallmark of authentic leadership.


Authentic leaders are agile and adaptable. Embrace change and be willing to adjust your approach based on new insights and evolving circumstances. Your ability to adapt showcases your authenticity and willingness to learn.

Acknowledge mistakes

Authentic leaders are fearless in admitting when they’re wrong. Acknowledge your mistakes, take responsibility, and use them as opportunities for growth and improvement.

Reflect on your values

Ensure your decisions and actions align with your core values. Authentic leadership is grounded in a solid moral compass that guides your choices.

Integrating these strategies into your leadership journey lays a solid foundation for an authentic leadership style that resonates with your team, fosters trust, and propels personal and organisational growth. Remember, authentic leadership is a continuous process of self-discovery and refinement, and each step you take brings you closer to unleashing your full leadership potential.

So what does this mean?

Authentic leaders have to be truthful and explicit with themselves. This is not an easy journey to trek. But as a result of it, the morale of your team can increase. Taking a deeper look at yourself can allow for greater good. Self-reflection isn’t fun, but its always rewarding.

The Care & Growth Model encourages us to look at our behaviour. Do we show up to take? Or do we show up to give? If we show up to take, it reduces our energy and feels heavy. Whereas, if we show up to give, it allows us to care for others. It allows us to focus of growing others. And as a result, we feel ourselves reaching our full potential. Showing up to give means that you are in a positive psychological state. It means that your state will influence your team. Subsequently, possessing some traits of an Authentic leader. (half way there!)

In conclusion, introspection is the first step to becoming a great leader. And great leaders don’t need to have a great following. A great leader is one who shows up to give. Someone who knows how to demonstrate care. Someone who makes sure that they enable the next person. Namely in the form of giving them the means to do the task. Making sure they have the ability to do the task. And providing the authority to perform the task. And lastly, holding them accountable.

How is that looking inwardly, makes a difference on the outside? That’s the beauty of the human-being. Our innate behaviour is to give. To be a part of something bigger. Embrace it!

Look at our upcoming events. Read more about Leadership Excellence.

For exclusive news and offers

Authentic Leadership FAQs

What is authentic leadership?

Authentic leadership is a leadership style based on values, ethics, and an individual’s character. It focuses on building genuine relationships with followers, being true to oneself, and promoting transparency and openness in communication.

What are the components of authentic leadership?

The four components of authentic leadership include self-awareness, relational transparency, balanced processing, and an internalised moral perspective. Self-awareness involves understanding one’s strengths, weaknesses, and values. Relational transparency means being open and honest in communication with others. Balanced processing involves considering multiple perspectives when making decisions. An internalised moral view consists of having a solid moral compass and acting according to one’s values.

Why is authentic leadership important?

Authentic leadership can increase followers’ trust and commitment, improving organisational performance and employee well-being. Authentic leaders also tend to be more ethical and effective in their decision-making, leading to a more positive impact on society. By embodying these values, authentic leaders can be positive role models for others.

Leave a Reply