I’ve resisted writing about the debacle that is ongoing in the United States. The debacle known as the Presidential Election of 2016.
Rather then comment on the remaining candidates individually I thought I’d share with you some of the requirements for Authentic Leadership. You can look at the candidates and decide for yourself if they meet one or more (or any) of these requirements.
Authentic leaders have core values. They know what they stand for and they do not compromise on those core values for anything or anyone. These core values guide every decision and over time even casual observers will see these core values in action. In fact, Authentic Leaders seldom speak of their core values, instead they display them on a regular basis for all to see.
Authentic Leaders know their strengths and weaknesses. They know what they don’t know and they are not afraid to admit it. They know that admitting a mistake is better than lying about it and they know that lying is usually a bigger mistake than the original mistake they refuse to admit. They use their strengths to their advantage and and they have the courage to allow people smarter than them into their inner circle to help minimize their weaknesses.
Authentic Leaders are genuine. They are honest to the core. They have no hidden agendas and they know that their success is completely dependent upon the success of the people they lead. They don’t lead in order to build better followers, they lead to build more leaders. Authentic Leaders are true difference makers and they leave a positive legacy that outlasts their service as a leader.
Authentic Leaders listen well. They listen to opposing views as much as they listen to supporting views. They let the best idea win no matter where the idea came from. They celebrate the success of others as much or more than they celebrate their own. They have solid, well thought-out plans that include back-up plans and action steps. Their goals and objectives are realistic and attainable. Authentic Leaders are proactive and seldom impulsive or reactive, they have a vision and they are able to earn “buy-in” through their positive influence.
Authentic Leaders have a strong ethical & morale compass. They know what’s right and they do what’s right. They do not play games with language or re-define words to fit their situation. Authentic Leaders know that trust is the foundation of all successful relationships and they work tirelessly to ensure that they never violate the trust of their followers. Authentic Leaders are honest people and they tell the truth even when it may hurt. They value their credibility more than they value winning or living in a tax-payer funded big white house.
So, that’s a bit of what an Authentic Leader looks like. I’d prefer the President of the United States, or the leader of any country for that matter, be an Authentic Leader. I’m not making any judgments here about which of the candidates may or may not possess the aforementioned characteristics, it’s your vote and your choice. Just be honest with yourself.
If you see a candidate that fits the description then you know how to vote. If you don’t, well, I hear Australia is a nice place to live.