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In todays high-stakes worlds of business and politics, we often hear stories of leaders who lie and cheat their way to the top: Kenneth Lay of Enron, investor and Ponzi-scheme mastermind Bernie Madoff, and disgraced government official Jessie Jackson Jr., are just three examples out of the many leaders who have mislead and lied to their employees, customers, and constituents. With so many negative examples of leadership, people are becoming more and more distrustful of those in positions of power, and who can blame them? That is why, now more than ever, authentic leadership is in demand.
Authentic Leadership can be looked at in several different ways; it can be viewed from an intrapersonal perspective (this involves the leader’s self-awareness and internal characteristics), from an interpersonal perspective (the leader’s interaction with his followers), and from a developmental perspective (the leader can develop an authentic style) (Northouse, 2013). In layman’s terms, an authentic leader is someone that is genuine, self-aware, mission-driven, and results-oriented, who leads with his heart and focuses on long-term goals (Kruse, 2013).
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Authentic leaders are desperately in need right now. In order to restore our faith in our government and our business leaders, we need evidence that these people have our best interests at heart. People need to believe that their trust is being placed in competent hands, and with the examples of poor leadership we have been exposed to recently, it would appear that authentic leaders are few and far between.
Kruse, K. (2013). What is Authentic Leadership. Forbes. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/kevinkruse/2013/05/12/what-is-authentic-leadership/
Northouse, P.G. (2013). Leadership: Theory and Practice. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.