Leadership Distinction #29: Authentic

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Leadership Distinction #29: Authentic

To be authentic be your own artist

Perhaps it is because of the many opportunities a leader has to veil their true intentions, if not to be downright deceptive on occasion, that we focus so keenly these days on the word authentic, and on this concept of authenticity.

Transparent persons, transparent decisions, transparent transactions – yes, we need them if there is to be any trust at all established in our commercial dealings. But this full court cultural press on authentic persons operating as authentic leaders is a bit overwrought, “IMHO”. We’re now collectively staring so close and so hard at authentic that it’s becoming a bit blurry. Obviously not good for transparency.

The imagined future that spurred the leader into action is ultimately dI think we can call upon art here to render some clarity, maybe even some beauty. Not the first time that art has been turned to for help. Nor will it be the last. And it’s not a remote reach, after all. When we look for answers within the world of art we are only calling upon ourselves, or, at least the most creative dimension of ourselves. 

The art world uses the distinction of authentic to mean an original, something that is not a copy. So, the world of art’s admonition to leaders would be: ‘be yourself.” But an honest leader’s response to art’s directive might be “yeah, well, walk through the mine field that is my job first before you throw that one at me.”

Do you think it’s possible to practice being genuine? To pause and reconsider, before saying the patently safe and superficial thing in a situation that might bear some risk if you were frank? To let a bit more of your vulnerability face the light of day? To accept imperfection in yourself? 

The circumstances you have managed on your way to where you are now have assuredly worn down the sharper edges of your authenticity. It may be time to draw from art’s inspiration, and turn things around. How about managing your current circumstances with more of your own originality? And painting your authenticity in sharper relief. 

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Episode 28