One of the weaknesses of Authentic leadership, presented in Lesson 12, states that “the connection between authentic leadership and positive organizational outcomes has not been demonstrated,” and, “if that is the case, it may turn out that this is not a useful theory after all” (Neely, 2017).
It is my belief that with further research, we will find that authentic leadership is in fact useful. This belief is based off of personal experience.
Throughout my military career, I have learned that it is important to ensure that your followers trust you and right now this is a very critical goal for me. I have spent the last 14 years in the military and during that time I deployed twice to a combat zone. Both times, I was a follower, and I always looked to my senior leadership for guidance. Now, my National Guard unit is preparing to deploy, but this time I will not be a follower, I will be a leader. I’ll be honest, this scares me, because I know that my followers are now looking to me for guidance. Our lesson on authentic leadership included a small video in which Rob Sykes and Steve Botham provide some thoughts on the topic. The following statement stuck out to me:
“We measure leaders by their ability to get other to follow them and people will only follow people that they can trust… You want to be certain that the person leading you is leading you in the right direction” (Sykes & Botham).
I agree. Why would you follow someone that you didn’t trust? It appears the Army also agrees. I did a little research and found a paper that discusses the need for building mutual trust between soldier (followers) and leaders. A survey found that 68% of respondents reported “high” or “very high” levels of trust in their immediate supervisors (HDCDTF).
It is my prediction that with more research, authentic leadership theory will develop into a proven theory. Trust is an important aspect to achieve between leaders and followers.
Human Dimension Capabilities Development Task Force. (n.d.). Building Mutual Trust Between Soldiers and Leaders. Retrieved from http://usacac.army.mil/sites/default/files/publications/HDCDTF_White%20Paper_Building%20Mutual%20Trust%20Between%20Soldiers%20and%20Leaders_Final_2015_01_09_0.pdf.
Neely, B. (2017). Lesson 12: Authentic Leadership. The Pennsylvania State University, Retrieved from https://psu.instructure.com/courses/1834747/modules/items/21827948.