Authentic leadership

Why authentic leadership?

Authentic (or wholehearted) leadership is about the courage to show up authentically, with vulnerability. We address what holds us back, developing resilience to shame. We often hold back valuable thoughts and feelings: “Shall I share this idea with my team, or shall I keep quite as I am not sure?” If we mutually self-censor, our organisation misses out on the wisdom of our best analytical thinking or intuitive sensing. Yet, when leaders show up authentically, they create the foundation for more creativity, innovation and readiness for change. These our critical success factors in our 21st century knowledge economy.

Read this column by Brené Brown on leadership for the Gates Foundation, which concludes that "Invulnerability in leaders breeds disengagement."

I advise organisations and conduct leadership training, inspired among others by Brené Brown, known for her TED-talk on vulnerability. In-company consulting or training can be tailored to your needs (e.g. splitting training into several blocks).

Some background

Wholeheartedness in organisations means investing in the future. Whoever only focused on today, will limit himself to cost saving and efficiency boosting interventions. Whoever has a passion for relevance in tomorrow’s world and in bringing out brilliance in people, will chose for deeper change. I love to support you to make such a shift an organisation-wide reality, but as a leader this training gives you a safe opportunity to take your own steps individually before rolling out and scaling up.

In my professional career leadership development and organisational culture are key. If a leader is connected to himself and detects his true goals, he or she can lead others with courage and inspiration. At a basic level the question is whether the leader recognises and trusts his own goodness, so that he can be authentic. By extension the question is whether he recognises the goodness of his clients and staff, so that he creates possibilities rather than aims to control. The question is whether he values and smartly trusts the wisdom of people, rather than that he tries to overcome their uniqueness. Like a family, a team or organisation can then feel mutually connected. It will detect and achieve inspiring, true goals, at lower costs.

Of course leadership is also about alone-ness – about the courage to take possibly unpopular decisions congruent with values and beliefs. It is also about confronting and maintaining standards. Yet even then the basic attitude can be one of connection; connection with true goals and connection with brilliant people.

Watch four short films in which Brené Brown explains how vulnerability is at the heart of leadership and business:
  • The relevance of vulnerability to leadership and the myths
  • What you share and with whom as a leader - That it is not about advertising that you have  no clue
  • Vulnerability as the birthplace of innovation
  • Genuine communication and feedback
Diederik Prakke,
5 aug. 2014 02:51