If you’ve read my blog before, you will know I get a little frustrated about how often we find ourselves making simple concepts difficult and generally jumping on the latest bandwagon or shiny new thing.
Lately, I am seeing more links and articles, books, books and checklists on authentic leadership. The concept has been around for a while I know, but there’s been plenty in my timeline of late.
There is plenty of information available tell you how to be an authentic leader. A quick Google search will give you a multiplicity of definitions for the term. Apparently it is all about being real, genuine, honest, open, true to yourself and your values. It is all about building trust.
One of the suggested explanations for what authentic leadership means, talks about bringing your true self to work. I like to think that I bring my real self to work every day: heck, I have a One Direction calendar up in the office. But what if my real, true, genuine self, underneath it all, authentic self looks a bit like this:
I will never get round to doing your performance reviews
I will sit on your expenses form and holiday requests for weeks
I will never get round to returning your calls or responding to your emails
I value a big fat pay cheque
I need lots of ego stroking
It’s all about me!
Because the problem with authenticity as a concept, is that it does not necessarily mean good. You be authentic and crap, all at the same time.
I’m not suggesting good leadership isn’t important. Of course it is. But we need more terminology, more checklists, more buzzwords, more versions of the same and new wine in old bottles like we need a hole in the head.
There is however one part of the dictionary definition of authentic that does feel right to me when it comes to leadership. Not a copy. Just like I’ve blogged before. Take that HR thing, that work thing, that leadership thing, and define it for yourself, where you are. Take the learning, the insights, the good examples, and make it your own.
So, can’t we just focus on making management and leadership better, and never mind the buzzwords?
And some more thoughts on the subject from Doug Shaw here.