The number one valued characteristic of Leadership and indeed of being a whole person is AUTHENTICITY

WHY? Because a leader needs to be real, to be human, to be natural, to be comfortable in his or her own skin.

We all have flaws, weaknesses, have mess in our lives, challenges to overcome, family issues.

None of us are PERFECT -although many like to pretend they are and that their life is perfect. Everyone has their shit to deal with and some take to the bottle or to drugs to calm the system and the soul in times a quite and aloneness. Others go to there Spiritual Element and use love, character values, prayer, meditation or silence. To readjust and find some peace and direction.

So, the public display may just be that – a display of a false lifestyle. It takes so much energy to not be authentic. To pretend or to tell lies and deny the real situation festering inside.

Being Authentic means what you see is what you get. You ae confident enough to show your flaws, your human weaknesses – whether it be needing advice, some guidance, some confirmation a decision taken is correct, that you are unwell that day and so on.

This shows you are not perfect – you are just as broken and vulnerable as the rest of the team. Although in quite different ways. Because as the Leader – you still have to lead, to drive hope and achievement and to inspire the team towards the vision

This allows better connection; it builds genuine relationships and trust and helps you better influence and inspire the team. It is our FLAWS that are powerful – because they help us connect the best. They allow us to persuade, put power behind our words with feelings and PASSION.

PASSION the true driver of belief, action, desire to achieve and to win.

Great leaders – Nelson Mandela, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr, George Washington, Ronald Regan, Margaret Thatcher, Winston Churchill – allowed their flaws to be seen – not hidden. What you saw is what you got.

They earnt the right to lead and be respected by persuading and influencing by EXAMPLE. They openly displayed what they stood for. They could look themselves in the mirror and be happy with the person looking back. They were honest with themselves and accepted their strengths, weaknesses and their flaws. And worked hard to improve – but always remaining AUTHENTIC.

You see it is not the words they used – but the Character behind the words and ideas that had the power.

It is said:

“Have who you are speak so loudly that I cannot hear what you are saying”

PASSION is mixed with this. There needs to be emotion behind the words and we call this PASSION.

It is commonly said that there is a fine line between LOVE and HATE. PASSION is fickle.

We see this in the Bible story about the conversion of Saul (later St Paul) when as a Jew he hunted and killed as many Christians as he could. Until on the Road to Damascus he was struck by a bolt of lightning and asked – Saul whey do you hate ME so?

After his conversion to Christianity, he declared:

“What I used to Love – I now Hate

What I used to Hate – I now Love”

Feelings are fickle. Passion is fickle – therefore we need to understand ourselves better. We need to know what makes us tick. What really drives us on the inside. What will be die for. What won’t we compromise? What Core Values/Beliefs will we never compromise. Whether if affects our lifestyle, reputation, friends and so on.

To be Authentic – to be your true self – warts and all – in all situations – you need to know how to make the best CHOICES, the best interviews, how best to handle your team or the challenges of everyday life.

Compromise is the beginning of the fall, a loss in authenticity and a loss in the power of your leadership in all areas of your life.

Authenticity is not only about WHO you are – it’s also about becoming who you need to be to make the impact you seek.

It requires a journey of self-discovery. It requires CONGRUENCE in all you think, feel, speak and act. All need to be in full alignment regardless of outside pressures.

Gandhi put it this way:

“Happiness is when what you think, say and do are in harmony”

Warren Bennis:

“If knowing yourself and being yourself were easy to do as people talk about – there wouldn’t nearly be so many people walking desperately to fit in – rather than standout”

We all have a light side and a dark side – so our aim in being Authentic, living the best life we can, becoming the best version of ourselves and Designing our own Good Lives – is to reduce the dark side by feeding the light side – the side of love, character, virtue and living your core beliefs.

So let me pose three big questions:

  1. Who am I? – Do I know my GPS my 5 Core Beliefs? What do I believe in?
  2. What do I care about? Why? What would I stand up for or die for?
  3. How do I want to Matter? How can I be the HERO in my life so that others will know and remember who I truly was?
  4. Will you write your own EULOGY? Who is the person you would like to be when your time comes? None of us know when – however it is a goal and time line to follow to ensure you become this person. This AUTHENTIC person.

Below is a list of Core Values – choose 5 that resonate with you or that you wish to live by.

Remember these are your GPS of Life. These are the Values you NEVER compromise

List of Core Values

CreativitySelf Awareness
DeterminationSelf Belief
EnergySelf Esteem
IntuitionSelf Awareness
Joy  —Self Belief