Understanding the Authentic Leadership Style

(Last Updated On: December 1, 2022)


“Everything rises and falls on leadership”. 

This then calls for serious introspection on how as leaders we lead.

In some of our previous articles we have focused on different types of leadership and this week we focus on one interesting type of leadership, authentic leadership. What really is this kind of leadership?

Authentic leadership is a style of leadership that focuses on transparent and ethical leader behaviour and encourages open sharing of information needed to make decisions while accepting followers’ inputs.”

Authentic Leadership works on the principle that a leader can prove their legitimacy by nurturing sincere relationships with their subordinates and giving importance to their input.

An authentic leader is one who encourages subordinates to be more open while they appreciate their support in the success of the organisation.

This type leadership style promotes both individual and team performance. For a leader to qualify as an authentic leader they need to satisfy the following:


λ  Master Self-awareness

An authentic leader is aware of their actions and decisions and critically examines their own strengths and weaknesses without any bias.

They focus less on their fears but use their strengths to the maximum.


λ   Ability to Lead from the heart

An authentic leader is empathetic. They lead their team with courage and empathy that comes from listening to the heart.

This attribute brings the leader so close to their subordinates and this bond is crucial for achievement of organisational objectives


λ   Authentic leader focuses on long-term results

Authentic leaders don’t waste precious time unnecessarily worrying over temporary setbacks. Their focus is always long-term.

They know that patience and hard work do take time but yield rich results in the long run.

In other words an authentic leader leads with the future in mind, though benefiting from past successes and challenges.


λ    Integrity

Strength of character is essential for an authentic leader. An authentic leader lives exactly what they say, they are exemplary in everything they do for the benefit of the team.

The leader is trusted because they keep their word, no matter changes in circumstances.


λ    Ability to lead with vision

Authentic leaders lead with purpose and vision. They are always prepared to add value to people they interact with and help them realise higher professional goals.

They move with the team to raise the bar and aim for excellence.


λ   Listening skills

An authentic leader is always a good listener, even when someone else contradicts their views. In fact, they are even willing to consider those ideas with an open mind and change their opinion if the arguments make sense.

This attribute is essential for a leader as it allows them benefit from the vast experience of their team members.


λ   Being Transparent

Authentic leaders believe in open communication and combine their directness with empathy.

Their image in public is not in any way different from their private life. They don’t hide their mistakes and weaknesses and have the courage to be their true self.


λ    Consistency

Consistency is another hallmark of authentic leaders. They aren’t fickle and they stick to their principles. Their behavior is consistent, and they are not easily swayed by superficialities.


Chiedza Kadare is an OD Practitioner. You can get in touch with her on WhatsApp/call +263 77 283 0986 or Email chiedza.kadare@gmail.com


Paul Nyausaru is an OD Practitioner and leadership coach. For all your OD interventions and leadership development training you can get in touch with him on WhatsApp/call +263774062756 or Email pnyausaru@gmail.com


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