We always want to see leaders as authentic. And thousands of leadership books wrote that one of the good leadership characteristics is authenticity.
But is this true? do we really want leaders to be authentic? and is being an authentic leader an advantage or a disadvantage?
If you are in a leadership role, no matter if you are leading a sports team, an organization or a family, then you are more vulnerable than any normal person because all eyes are on you most of the time.
The people that you are leading are always watching you to model your actions and behaviors, or to sense from your words or body language if there is something wrong or if everything is moving perfectly. They are trying to obtain power and security from you and from your confidence.
With this in mind, we always want leaders to be authentic. Not only this, we expect them to be 100% authentic and if they are not, we consider them bad leaders. But are we able to pay the price of being led by a 100% authentic leader all the time?
Now let me shock you with a fact. Every leader no matter how good he or she is, will never be 100% authentic.
Do you want evidence?
If you are a leader at a company, and you have a severe problem at home and you are feeling very angry and demotivated because of this problem, but in the next company meeting you attended with a big smile on your face then you are not authentic.
Yes, I hear you saying ‘’but this is called separation between private life and professional life.’’ And you are correct, it is separation. But it is also not authentic because you claimed something that you are not.
Now let us take another example to see it from a different angle and to know if we really want a leader to be 100% authentic or not?
If you are an employee, and your leader has a big problem with his boss or even at home, do you prefer him to walk in front of you pushing negativity in the air? or do you prefer to see him smiling and making you feel positive?
If you are honest, then your answer will be ‘’I have my own problems, and I do not want anyone else to make me feel more negative or to deal with me aggressively because he is under pressure or tension.’’, right?
But unfortunately, this is the price that you will pay if you want the leader to be authentic 100% of the time…Which is impossible by the way.
Sometimes even the company that you are working for can face a crisis, and the leader should look calm in order not to create a negative atmosphere or panic.
Same as the airplane pilot. If he or she is facing trouble while flying with the airplane, would you prefer that he starts screaming in the microphone while informing you about the trouble that he is facing? And if he did so, would this make you feel happy and calm or make you panic?
Bottom line, yes leaders are required to be authentic, but not 100% of the time and only depending on the situation itself.
Share with me your thoughts in the comments section below.