The old adage that 'leadership is acting' continues to be one that's used by many managers at some of the world's most influential companies. Act one way at work and another way at home, saving your 'true' personality for friends and family.
This disparity can lead to animosity at the workplace, often meaning that employees distrust and dislike their superiors. Many managers would probably argue that this dislike is borne out of envy, but at the same time, we've all had bosses who act as if they can do no wrong, a trait which makes them very difficult to work under.
The theory of authentic leadership has been studied throughout history, with its definition still yet to be fully agreed upon. Despite this, there are a few common traits which authentic leaders tend to abide by.
One of the most significant impacts that authentic leaders can have on a company's processes is that they always attempt to achieve the company's objectives and never let their own self interests interfere with the outcome of a target. Because of this, authentic leaders don't drive for short-term success, they're not concerned with putting themselves in a better light in the strive for a promotion, but instead concerned with the long-term sustainability of their company.
Trust is encouraged due to management's willingness to recognise their own faults and concede when something they ordered hasn't quite gone to plan. This doesn't mean that employees lose respect for their superiors, quite the opposite, they see that management is putting the project in front of their own interests and values their input.
Unfortunately, developing authentic leaders is difficult. It's likely that the charity sector, where projects are meaningful and have the potential to impact lives, will breed the most authentic leaders as the stakeholders aren't just after increased profits. Developing loyalty is of course imperative, as is a guarantee from the board of executives that long-term success is always valued more highly than short-term success.
Authentic leaders should be treated as a precious commodity as they don't come along that often. Leaders who adopt this strategy will foster increased motivation within their team and drive long-term results that should put their company in a much better position.