Berger Leadership Blog

Nov 17, 2017

4 paths lead to being an authentic leader

Leadership paths

There are myriad habits to adopt and steps to follow to become a better leader, and while I like these lists and try and adhere to many of their suggestions, sometimes it's necessary to go back to the basics and review what being an authentic leader should really look like.

Peter Himmelman, Forbes contributor, recently listed "four pathways to authentic leadership." These four paths are meant to help refocus leaders on true leadership. The list includes:

  1. Honesty. "Authentic leadership insists that we don’t distort reality," Himmelman writes. He adds that a big part of honesty is readily admitting when we're wrong.
  2. Empathy. We must care for the well-being of others more than ourselves, which Himmelman writes, requires "a rewiring of our brains, a retraining of our minds and habits."
  3. Forgiveness. This is an extension of empathy, he explains. "If we truly feel for someone else, we will surely understand that we too make mistakes."
  4. Self-sacrifice. A truly authentic leader is motivated by the benefits their efforts will afford to others – not to themselves.

These are not common (or often very popular) pathways to take. It is easy for our own selfishness to get in our way and prevent us from reaching our potential as leaders.

Himmelman closes by noting how rarely seen authentic leadership is: "You will find that authentic leaders are unlike most others, and like authentic artists -€“ they are also extremely rare."

With the few weeks left in 2017 and moving into 2018, I plan to forge a deeper track down these four pathways and I encourage you to do the same. The world could always use more authentic leaders. Follow me on Twitter (@BDanBerger).