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Opinions of Friday, 3 December 2021

Columnist: Yanick Noah Agboado

Authentic leadership: What it is?

In recent times, there have been calls for the practice of leadership that truly meet the needs of the people and proffers pragmatic solutions that address the challenges of today. Experts such as Bill George in his book titled Authentic Leadership: Rediscovering the secrets to creating lasting values, call for current and aspiring leaders to take a good and hard look at their roles in an organisation and their personal life.

Hence, this article seeks to bring to the attention of readers and educate them on this emerging approach to leadership.

Authentic leadership is a fairly new and emerging approach to leadership. This act of leading is often in line with the sound character and principles of the leader.

It requires that the leader does not portray a certain kind of behavior in private life while portraying different behavior in public or the work environment.

The leader must be consistent in the application of these sound characters and principles. For instance, even if you are not like because of your truthfulness, continue to say it. It will just be a matter of time that people will begin to have confidence in you and respect you for your sound character and principles.

Therefore, authentic leadership requires that the leader should possess qualities such as love, patience, self–awareness, lead with heart, and focus on long–term results, integrity, lead with vision, good listener, transparency, consistency, discipline, share success with the team, and draw on experience among other good virtues.

Additionally, he is that friendly leader who nurtures or build a genuine relationship that is borne out of love for his subordinates and place importance on the contributions they make to the success of the organisation.

The call for being an authentic leader in recent times has become very important because leaders of today are faced with several challenges in the area of politics, economics, conflict resolution, and the environment that requires courage and honesty to deal with. Also, leaders of corporate organizations are under pressure to maximize and increase shareholders’ wealth.

Given the several challenges leaders are confronted with, there is the need for a more pragmatic approach rather than relying on existing approaches that have not yielded the desired results. We cannot continue doing the same thing over and over and expect to achieve different results. Leaders should be encouraged to review their approaches to leading since the challenges that confronted leaders of yesterday are different from those that are confronting leaders of today.

It will be an erroneous impression to suggest that there are no authentic leaders out there. Obviously, there are leaders practicing authentic leadership without even knowing that it is that kind of leadership theory they have deployed. Not all leaders of today are inauthentic.

There are genuine leaders acting in the best interest of the ordinary people and impacting societies positively. However, there is still much to be done to nurture and train more authentic leaders to deal with the different dimensions of leadership challenges facing the world today.

Lack of authenticity in the behavior of the leader can be very devastating to the progress of the organization. Exhibiting inauthentic leadership qualities can create an organizational environment that is tense and unfriendly. This will often lead to distrust among the leader and subordinates at the workplace. General apathy among the subordinates sets in. Commitment to work is reduced which ultimately affects organizational productivity.

Leaders who influence their subordinates by leading by example inspire confidence in them. They create a happy working environment that stimulates productivity and affect the employees’ work and attitude positively. Their friendly and genuine approach to seeing their subordinates develop their capacities, create an atmosphere of love and togetherness at the workplace.

Such an atmosphere enables subordinates to achieve targets and increase productivity ultimately. Such behaviors are often infectious. As a subordinate, you begin to exhibit these genuine attitudes as well and these will go a long way to even improve your health.

We all can become authentic leaders if only we desire and constantly invest in character development. Kindly consider the following suggestions indicated below to improve and develop the skill and qualities of an authentic leader:

1. Begin to re-think and understand leadership as a broader concept that affects
the success of the whole organization and not an individual parochial
interest or a privileged few.

2. Constantly improve your emotional intelligence. Thus; understanding and being
in tune with your emotion and that of others and using that to promote
positive relationships among your co-workers and the general good of the
organisation. This can be done through practicing self–management or
regulation, self–awareness, social awareness, empathy, and relationship
management.

3. Take action and ask for help if necessary. Begin to practice and act as an
authentic leader because constant and consistent practice will make you
perfect. Do not act and behave as if you know it all. We all have our
shortfalls. Therefore, ask for help if it becomes necessary.

In conclusion, authentic leadership requires genuineness in character and behaviour. The practice of this approach to leadership in your organisation will go a long way in promoting trust and love among the workforce and will eventually lead to increase and sustained organisational productivity.