Bill George, in his bestselling book, “True North,” describes a process that he calls “integration.”
This is the process through which one discovers their authentic self and masters the art of being that same authentic self in each aspect of their life – work, family, friends, and community.
Authenticity is also a foundational element for effective leadership.
Authenticity in Leadership, is something I talk about in my book, Face to Face: A Leadership Guide For Healthcare Professionals and Entrepreneurs. Leaders who are afraid to exhibit their authentic selves find that they are leaders in name only. Potential followers are skeptical of “would be” leaders that hide behind a façade. Followers want…in fact, they demand that what they see is what they get.
Value-based leaders are the masters of integration.
There is no duplicity in their lives. They are effective leaders because of their authenticity, and they are the same authentic person in their private life, as well as their professional lives. They define their goals based on who they want to be and the universal nature of their values and purpose. For them, achieving a goal in one aspect of their life enhances and benefits all aspects of their life.
The concept of authenticity has roots based in social psychology. In the mid-1950s, Leon Festinger, a noted American psychologist, presented his theory of cognitive dissonance. This theory suggests that psychological stress is created when there is a difference between our ideal selves and our real selves. The greater the separation between the ideal and the real, the greater the degree of discord or dissonance. Someone who exhibits true authenticity would theoretically experience no discord because their real and ideal self would be the same in all aspects of their life.
The secret to achieving integration is to define with crystal like clarity who and what we want to be, and making this vision the anchor for all that we do. This is not as simple as it may sound, but the effort is greatly rewarded.
Achieving authenticity brings harmony to our lives by allowing us to be who we have chosen to be in any environment. Along with this harmony comes the greatest reward of all – a profound sense of peace.
If you are looking to make a shift in your results as a leader, I highly recommend you do a self-checkup and ask yourself: Are you being true to your Authentic Self? If you feel the answer is no, then this is a trait you will want to work on in order to change how you lead and how you are seen as a leader. You will also find that sense of harmony and peace I talked about as well.