Having a structure and a plan to follow makes our journey a bit easier, as with establishing any new habit. Here, again, Bill George and his colleagues provide us with the process (or path) to obtaining more of those puzzle pieces we link together to become an Authentic Leader.
As you read this series of posts on authenticity and leadership, I ask you to think about the foundation for your leadership development and the path you create and need to follow in becoming more authentic.
In “Your Development as an Authentic Leader” (Harvard Business Review, February 2007), Bill George, Peter Sims, Andrew N. McLean and Diana Mayer urge leaders to ask themselves the following questions:
1. Which people and experiences in your early life had the greatest impact on you?
2. Which tools do you use to become self-aware?
• What is your authentic self?
• Do you know your top ten Strengths?
• In which moments do you say to yourself, “This is the real me?”
3. Name your most deeply held values.
• Where did they come from?
• Have your values changed significantly since your childhood?
• How do your values inform your actions?
4. What motivates you extrinsically?
• What are your intrinsic motivations?
• How do you balance extrinsic and intrinsic motivations?
5. Who is on your support team?
• How can your support team make you a more authentic leader?
• How should you diversify your team to broaden your perspective?
6. Is your life integrated?
• Are you able to be the same person in all aspects of your life (personal, work, family and community)?
• If not, what’s holding you back?
7. What does authenticity mean in your life?
• Are you a more effective leader when you behave authentically?
• What price have you paid for your authenticity? Was it worth it?
8. What is your plan for your next steps can you take today, tomorrow and over the next year to become a more authentic leader?
Ultimately, superior results over a sustained period make for an authentic leader. It may be possible to drive short-term outcomes without being authentic, but authentic leadership is the only way we know to create sustainable long-term results.