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How To Be An Authentic Leader

Updated: Dec 24, 2020

A leader directing his team on a boat out on the ocean.

Whether you are a leader or a manager at your workplace you need to be able to communicate your vision. I will be discussing how to be an authentic leader in your career or in your community.

What is Leadership?

Leadership includes the ability to influence others to get your desired actions. To be a great leader you need to be able to inspire and motivate others.

What is Cultural Intelligence?

Cultural intelligence is one’s ability to adapt to unfamiliar cultural settings. Authentic leaders are self-aware and true to their values and communicate their mission clearly. The four components of authentic leadership are self-awareness, balanced processing, relational transparency, and internalized moral/ethical perspective.

Components Of Authentic Leadership

Authentic Leadership works on the principle that a leader can prove their legitimacy by nurturing sincere relationships with his subordinates, giving importance to their input. An authentic leader encourages his subordinates to be more open, promoting both individual and team performance. Here are some characteristics of authentic leadership.

1. Self-Awareness

This about having trust in one’s own motives and desires and that of others. As a leader, you should be able to calm people wherever there is tension. You should aid in the building of trust and self-confidence in your team. Great leaders rate highly in this component.

2. Balanced Processing

This is about taking into account all the available data, analyzing them, and making a decision. You should be observant of the environment and take all available data and information into account and use this to make the right decision. The decisions made with the component will not be deemed biased by anyone in your team.

3. Relational Transparency

This about having openness and truthful disposition towards people you have a relationship with. You need to build open and honest relationships with people to encourage them to be open with you as well.

4. Internalized Moral / Ethical Perspective

An authentic leader takes moral values over others, and also takes responsibility for moral outcomes. A true leader instills moral values in the team and gets people to increase productivity.

5. Share Success With The Team

This is something that sets authentic leaders apart from other leaders. They not only build a good team but also give credit where it is due and share success and achievements with the entire team.

Adaptive Leadership

Adaptive work requires a change in values, behaviors, and beliefs to overcome clashing values held by different cultural groups. As a culturally intelligent leader, you need to reflect on your values and beliefs and how it affects your interactions with people from different cultural settings.

Adaptive leadership is a practical leadership framework that helps individuals and organizations to adapt to changing environments and effectively respond to recurring problems.

Leaders need to be adaptive in order to be able to respond to the ever-changing environment that all organizations have to face and overcome if they succeed. Adaptive work is one of the areas in which cultural intelligence will significantly improve our understand of culture and intercultural work.

Top 6 leadership skills

There are a lot of positive soft skills that might be considered a leadership skill. For example, active listening helps leaders bring projects to completion by hearing the ideas and concerns of the team. Empathy or what some may call emotional intelligence, for example, helps leaders understand how their team feels about their workload, environment, and workplace relationships.

Here is a list of must-have leadership skills that may prove valuable to anyone applying for a job or looking to progress in a career:

1. Decisiveness

Effective leaders are those who can make decisions quickly with the information available to them. Effective decision-making comes with time and experience. As you become more familiar with your specific industry, you’ll be able to make decisions faster, even when you don’t have all of the necessary information. Decisiveness is seen as a valuable leadership skill because it can help move projects along faster and improve efficiency. It is seen as a trait of resoluteness as evidenced by firmness of character or purpose.

2. Integrity

Integrity is often seen as just truthfulness or honesty but in many cases, it also means having a set of strong values that you abide by. Integrity in the workplace often means being able to make ethical choices and helping the company maintain a positive image. Individuals with a strong sense of integrity are in high demand for leadership roles in organizations.

3. Relationship Building

Leadership requires the ability to build and maintain a strong and collaborative team of individuals working toward the same goal. Team building requires other leadership strengths, like effective communication skills and conflict resolution.

4. Problem-Solving

Good leaders are skilled at problem-solving issues that arise on the job. Effective problem solving often requires staying calm and identifying a step-by-step solution. Problem-solving skills can help leaders make quick decisions, resolve obstacles with their team and external teams alike, and ensure projects are completed on time, according to the specifications.

5. Reliability

Being a reliable leader means that people can trust and depend on you. A dependable person follows through on plans and keeps promises. The strong relationships built by a dependable leader create a resilient team (bonded team) that is able to work through challenges that may arise in the course of work.

6. Teach and Mentor

One skill that differentiates leadership from many other competencies is the ability to teach and mentor others. Effectively teaching colleagues or direct reports to grow in their careers helps organizations grow as well. Often, this skill requires that leaders think less about themselves and focus more on how to build their team into a successful one.

How to Improve Your Leadership Skills

You can practice good leadership skills in any role, at any level. For example, showing up on time to meetings and turning in for work on schedule shows dependability. Offering support and coaching to less experienced colleagues is also an example of leadership. If it seems like a good fit for you, you might consider seeking out leadership roles to develop and practice your leadership skills.

Here are some additional ways you can develop your leadership skills:

Identify Your Leadership Style

While you will use different styles of leadership for different scenarios, identifying your leadership style can help you refine specific skills that will be effective for your team or project. Your team or project goals can be used to help identify what leadership styles will be most effective for you.

Find Resources Like Books Or Podcasts About Leadership

A self-study on leadership may help you get a better understanding of how to develop your leadership skills. Many books on the subject exist, including 'The 360 Degree Leader by John C. Maxwell, which is a favorite of mine. There are also many free podcasts and videos online you can use.

Participate In Leadership Training Courses Or Workshops

You can find both in-person and online courses that help teach leadership skills. In-person courses, in particular, often include practice sessions and role play. Mostly online workshops are recommended now due to social distancing.

Find Leadership Activities Outside Of Work

If you have trouble finding leadership opportunities on the job, you may be able to find them outside of your workplace. This can include taking the lead in organizing activities or work outings with your colleagues.

Study Leadership Styles You Admire

When you see leaders you admire whether they are at your office or in your community, take note of the specific qualities they have that make them such great leaders. Focus on how you can develop these qualities and apply them. It might also be helpful to set specific goals toward developing one style at a time.

Search For A Mentor / Coach

The best way to learn is by studying those you admire the most. If possible, ask a leader you respect to mentor you on a weekly or monthly basis. They can help you set goals toward becoming a better leader by developing skills and using them.


In conclusion, being a great leader is all about developing the above skills among others and implement them in your daily interactions with people.

As more organizations commit to purpose and make authenticity paramount to their business strategy, enhancing your leadership capabilities can be a boon to your career.

No matter where you are professionally, taking the time to commit to bettering yourself, heightening your emotional intelligence, putting your leadership skills into practice, and embracing a mission can lead to substantial returns—for yourself, your team, and your organization.

That will be all folks.

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Very nicely written, well done!

Simon Isoa
Simon Isoa
Feb 27, 2021
Replying to

Thanks 😊


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