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10 Authentic Leadership Characteristics

Written by: Andrée Funnell, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


So what is “Authentic Leadership” – it’s a recently derived modern term for what is known as a more inclusive approach to leadership.

We see authenticity in people from all walks of life – people who are just really comfortable in their own skin. They feel real and natural. They ‘say it how it is,’ yet with compassion and awareness. These are the people we tend to trust in life because they are authentic.

Authentic Leadership is based on the principle that a leader can be more successful and prove their legitimacy to be a leader by nurturing sincere relationships with others. They have a higher level of Emotional Intelligent than non-authentic leaders and have an understanding of themselves and others.

An authentic leader creates an open culture and encourages people to be more open and authentic. They are comfortable promoting both individual and team performance and their support in the success of the organization is appreciated.

Do you think you have the qualities to be an authentic leader? Read on and find out.

1. Self-awareness

Self-reflection is a key attribute of an authentic leader. They can reflect upon their actions and decisions and have the ability to examine their strengths and weaknesses without judgment or bias. They can see their development needs clearly and deliver on their strengths.

2. Lead with heart and feel emotion

An authentic leader can look inward and are not afraid to dig deep to identify their innermost feelings and emotions. They lead their team with courage and empathy that is derived from listening to the heart.

3. Integrity and Strength of character is essential for an authentic leader.

They are open, honest, and constructive and don’t say things that they don’t mean. This earns them respect from others due to this strong quality. People trust them because they keep their word, no matter what it takes.

4. Transparency

Authentic leaders believe in open and honest communication. They can combine their directness with empathy leading to trust and success. They project the same image at work as they do at home or in social events. They don’t act as an ‘Imposter’ and can show their mistakes and weaknesses. They have the courage to actually be who they really are and are comfortable in their own skin.

5. Lead with vision

Authentic leaders lead with purpose and vision. They can add value to people they interact with by helping them realize their higher professional goals and a more authentic and fulfilled personal life. They develop and drive themselves and others around them to raise the bar and aim for excellence.

6. Focus on long-term results

They can see the bigger picture and therefore don’t tend to waste precious time unnecessarily worrying over temporary setbacks. Nor do they dwell on the past but look to the future. They know that patience and hard work do take time but yield rich results in the long run.

7. Listening skills

An authentic leader will consider ideas from others with an open mind. They can listen and reflect on others' views and opinions and are not afraid to change their opinion if the other person’s argument is constructive and makes sense.

8. Consistency

Consistency is another trait of authentic leaders. They stick to their principles and core values no matter who or what they are dealing with. Their behavior is consistent, and they are not easily swayed by superficialities.

9. Share success with the team

Authentic Leaders are known for building an effective team and are happy to share the credit, successes, and achievements with others where it is due. This is a trait that sets an authentic leader apart from other leaders.

10. Drawing on experience

Life is a great teacher, and authentic leaders are adept at drawing lessons learned from their own life real-world life experiences and use these experiences to lead and develop others effectively.

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Andrée Funnell, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Andrée is a multi-award-winning Coach, Learning & Development Consultant, best-selling author, and speaker, the founder and driving force behind Aspiring Future Competence (AFC). Since its inception in 2002, AFC has helped clients across a wide range of business sectors to get visible, get heard, and get ahead by applying inspirational ways to bring about positive change and empowerment. She has over 20 years of HR & training experience working in corporate organizations and a further 18 years delivering development solutions that make a difference to people’s careers and lives. She is a qualified coach, professional trainer, and NLP Practitioner. She discovered that Authenticity is the key to happiness, fulfillment, and success and is keen to get the message out there to others. ‘Behind the Mask’ is Andrée’s literary debut about ‘Authenticity.’ It’s an essential interactive step by step guide to turning your life around and achieving the kind of life you deserve by living authentically.



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