What is authentic leadership?
There are three major types of authentic leadership: intrapersonal, interpersonal, and developmental. The intrapersonal perspective is all about the leader and his or her self-knowledge, self-regulation, and self-concept. It focuses on the leader's experiences and the leader's true self. The interpersonal perspective focuses on the leader and follower interaction that occurs within leadership. The developmental perspective is based off of work from Avolio and his associates and is the idea that leaders can be developed from nurturing and is not a fixed trait. This type of leadership can develop over time or from a certain event in the leader's life that made him or her become a leader. The perspective that involves traits the most is the intrapersonal perspective.
The practical approach to authentic leadership has two parts to it: Robert Terry's approach and Bill George's approach. Robert Terry's approach is about practicing to become an authentic leader. He emphasizes the two questions: what is going on and what are we going to do about it? A leader must ask and answer these questions and then act in a way that is truthful and moral. For Bill George's approach, he focuses on the characteristics authentic leaders have: purpose, values, relationships, self-discipline, and heart (see picture to the right). Secondary traits that go along with these characteristics are passion, compassion, consistency, connectedness, and behavior. All of these things together are what make up a good, moral leader.
The main components to authentic leadership are self-awareness (personal insight), internalized moral perspective (internal moral standards), balanced processing (self-regulatory behavior), and relational transparency (honesty). These are the main characteristics that are necessary for an authentic leader to have.
The psychological attributes that affect authentic leadership are: confidence, hope, optimism, and resilience. These are both trait-like and state-like because they are fixed parts of someone’s personality but they can also be developed over time. Confidence means believing one is able to accomplish the goal at hand. Hope is having willpower and goals they can accomplish. Optimism is being positive and expecting the best. Resilience is being able to adjust to changing situations.
Moral reasoning is a major factor in authentic leadership because it is about the ability to make moral decisions about issues on hand while being selfless and nonjudgmental. Critical life events also affect a leader because they can shape people’s lives and affect their leadership style.