Authenticity is based on the Greek word authenticos, which does mean credibility. Trust and reliability are key drivers behind authenticity. If you do what you say people will trust you and you’ll become a reliable person for them. If this doing is in line with your inner beliefs, it does mean your behavior is authentic.
In other words, authenticity has to do with being loyal. Being loyal to yourself, to your own values and your own identity. It’s the proof of your identity. Your behavior should match your identity. If this is not the case, there is a false self.
Authentic leadership emphasizes that leadership is based on honest relationships with followers. The ancient Greece developped the concept of authenticity. However, authentic leadership as we know nowadays is originated in the 1960s as a means to describe how an organization reflects itself authentically through leadership.
Qualities of authentic leaders
To clarify, the concept itself is not yet fully mature in a theoretical sense, there are many different definitions of authentic leadership. Each of these has their own nuances. However, consensus appears that authentic leadership includes the following distinct qualities.
Firstly, this is self-awareness. Self-awareness is the ongoing process of reflection and re-examination of your own strength, weaknesses, and values. Secondly it is about Relational Transparency. Relational Transparancy is the sharing of your own thoughts and beliefs, balanced by a minimization of inappropriate emotions. Thirdly, balanced processing is a quality of authentic leadership. Balanced Processing a fair-minded considerations of opposing viewpoints. Lastly, the Internalized Moral Perspective is key in authentic leadership. The Internalized Moral Perspective is a positive ethical foundation of the leader. Above all, it means that the leader is is taking decisions resistant to outside pressures.
Example of authenticity
When we talk about authenticity one of the great examples for me are the wisdom keepers on earth. They are loyal to themselves, to their own values and identity. Do you want to read more about them? Check the article ‘Down to Earth’.