Volume 120, January 2013: Authenticity

Keyzine: An E-zine for Leaders about the People Side of Business

This is a monthly electronic magazine for anyone who wants to be a better leader, coach, facilitator, or simply, to tune up their people skills. It is a complimentary publication, devoted to the next evolution of Quality Thinking.

Publisher: © Key Associates, LLC, 2010 ISSN # 1545-8873

“My business is not to remake myself. But make the absolute best of what God made.” — Robert Browning

Authenticity is the degree to which one is true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character, despite external pressures. As professionals in a leadership role, we are often held and hold ourselves in a position of authority, which is clad with the weight of always knowing, of being the expert. We dare not show our weaknesses, for we would be seen as an emperor with no clothes. It is hard to reveal our vulnerability, for fear of being found unworthy.

And to complicate matters, we are often offered models of leadership and attributes we should cultivate. No one can be authentic by imitating someone else. You need to be who you are, the person you were created to be.

Bill George in Authentic Leadership: Rediscovering the Secrets to Creating Lasting Value (2004) offers his wisdom: “Be your own person, lead in your own style with purpose and passion, be true to your values, build your relationships, practice self-discipline, and lead with your heart.”

Genuineness is liberating because it removes the weight of disguise. Rather than wear a clay mask, dare to expose your thinking, to reveal your authentic self.

Honesty isn't the best policy; it’s the only policy. Speaking and acting authentically builds trust. Speaking the truth up front eliminates having to clean up the messes later. Begin where you are, speaking truth with courage.

Practice Point

Search for moments where you have felt most deeply and intensely alive. This is the “real you” peeking through. What were the circumstances of being in your element? See if you can infuse other experiences with this surge of power, your real self.


George, Bill. Authentic Leadership: Rediscovering the Secrets to Creating Lasting Value. Jossey-Bass, 2004.


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