Authentic Leadership

Is authentic leadership a rarity in the modern world?

The political discourse in both the USA and Australia would suggest that populism is at an all-time high (at a tipping point, perhaps?).  Both sides of politics in each country seem to be driven by short-term poll results and (in the US in particular) a deep-seated fear of taking a stand on anything that might be controversial.

To take Australia as an example, despite the views that some might have held about Paul Keating or John Howard, one would be hard-pressed to make a case that, by and large, they didn’t stand by their convictions.  They also made some hard (and sometimes unpopular) decisions while in the hot-seat.

But the current Australian political landscape is in danger of slipping into the poll-driven mentality of American politics – much vitriol, but little substance.  This approach has the potential to foment complacency and a ‘head-in-the-sand’ mentality that will cost us dearly in the future.

Authentic leaders are very clear and passionate about their core beliefs and values.  The constructive debate that arises between people who hold deeply-held opposing views usually delivers much better outcomes than avoidance by both sides of confronting the difficult issues.

But what about the corporate domain?  Are we seeing the same pattern evolving in corporate stewardship, or is authentic leadership becoming more valued (and therefore more prevalent) in the modern-day organisation?

I’d be interested to hear your views and recent experience.


© Eric Jansen 2011. All rights reserved.


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