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5.5 Authentic leadership

Another perspective on leadership was explored by Bill George in his book Authentic Leadership. Here are four key four aspects of what it means to lead people authentically:

• Self awareness - an authentic leader knows their own strengths, limitations and values. They are clear about what they stand for.
• Relational Transparency - an authentic leader is honest and transparent, doesn’t play games or have a hidden agenda. They are willing to share their thoughts and beliefs. You know where you stand with an authentic leader.
• Balanced Processing - an authentic leader seeks out opposing viewpoints and in a fair-minded way considers all options before choosing a course of action
• Internalised Moral Perspective - an authentic leader has a strong ethical foundation, which forms the basis of how they behave and the decisions that they take. They act with integrity.

In this video Michael Zigarelli briefly summarises ten theories of leadership.

Exercise: A good manager or leader

Think of a time when someone managed or led you well. Make a few notes in answer to these questions:

1) What was the situation?
2) What exactly did that person do that causes you to say that they managed or led you well?
3) How did you feel?
4) Using some of the terms from earlier in these materials, how would you describe this person’s approach to management or leadership?


George, W. (2003) Authentic leadership: Rediscovering the secrets to creating lasting value. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass