Thursday, 21 July 2011

Authentic Leadership strapline

"Driven by passion, driven by purpose, Authentic Leaders combine personal courage with ethical decision-making to deliver successful, sustainable and meaningful results"

After 5 years of immersing myself in the area of Authentic Leadership for my PhD, this is the strap line that has emerged.

Have I missed anything? I haven't mentioned being genuine or 'true to yourself' which many other people seem to focus on, but does that matter?

There's a difference between authenticity and authentic leadership.

What does being an Authentic Leader mean to you? And would you even want to be one?

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Win a FREE place at the Authentic Leadership & Business Ethics Conference

We are running a competition in our summer newsletter for a free place on the 14th September London conference.

Details in newsletter below.

My best wishes as always,

Thursday, 16 June 2011

What does being authentic in the world mean to you?

For me, being authentic is a way of being in the world, rather than a way of doing - something which somehow suggests a mask, or what psychology calls an 'adapted self'.

I'm also a great believer in learning to lead ourselves first before we can expect others to follow us.

Indeed, if we are authentic with integrity and a compassionate, pro-social outlook, and if we create meaning, people will choose to follow us ........... no power, punishment or coercian required!

My best wishes to all,

The ABC of Authentic Leadership

This seems to me to be an easy way of remembering the very essence of Authentic Leadership:

A - be Authentic - be true to yourself

B - be Brave - have the Courage to Lead

C - be Compassionate - lead with empathy and concern for the well-being of others

My best wishes to all,

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Authentic Leadership Research Findings

We are judged by what we do, not by what we say we are going to do.

This was one of my PhD research findings into Authentic Leaders - those who combine self-awareness and self-regulation with integrity and ethics.

I thought that there would be a difference between people's perceptions of leader's rhetoric vs what they actually do .......... however, statistically, that isn't the case. Politicians in particular need to take note - we don't care what you say, - we will make our own judgements of your integrity based on what you do!

If organisations want to gauge the integrity quotient of their leaders - it's very easy - use the new Authentic Leadership 360 and ask the people who really matter (i.e. the employees) what they really think of their leaders and whether they trust them or not!

Seems obvious to me!

My best wishes as always to all,

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Who are you? on being authentic ........

Who are you?

Before a concept can be measured, it must firstly be accurately defined. This is a problem for authenticity. The Oxford English Dictionary defines authenticity as, “being genuine” or “being real”.

Harter, (2002) in her chapter on Authenticity in the Handbook of Positive Psychology, says that, regarding authenticity, there is “No bedrock of knowledge. Rather, there are unconnected islands of insight”. Like everyone here, different scholars from psychology and philosophy have their own ideas about authenticity and its extistentialist properties. What no-one argues about however, is the importance of being able to express our authentic selves and be accepted by others; inauthentic behaviours ultimately lead to stress and unwellness, mentally and physically.

The origins of authenticity can be traced back to the ancient Greek philosophical injunction, inscribed over the temple at Delphi of, “Know thyself”, which encourages the owning of and responsibility for our personal experience, emotions and thoughts and our daily behaviours. Harter says that historically, more attention has been paid to the notion of a lack of authenticity and to the different ‘faces’ that we might present to the world (and was a key theme of Greek theatre and to Shakepeare's writing as Leanne mentioned), rather than authenticity in itself.

The interesting bit for us is that Harter also suggests that we can remain authentic whilst adjusting our behaviour and acting differently within different relationships and situiations. This may be like trying on a new coat to see how well it fits us and whether we like it or not, or it may be perceived as being inauthentic, - particularly if it is perceived by others to be manipulative or narcissistic.

However, I believe that such adaptations are completely normal as we are continually reconstructing ourselves and our places in the world, “Experimentation or imitation … widens our experience or sense of possibility; it reflects a wish to find ourselves in order to be ourselves” (Harter, 2002).

Here's to being ourselves ..............

However, ‘being oneself’ and of being ‘true to oneself’ assumes accurate self-awareness as compared to a deluded or distorted sense of self, which was Brian's original point. Not many of us have the courage to ask for true feedback. Perhaps we should, as ”The deepest sense of a true-self is continually formed in connection with others and is inextricably tied to growth within the relationship”. (Harter again)

Ultimately, authenticity is all about having the courage to know who we really are - what's important to us, and to live what Aristotle would describe as 'A good Life' in our pro-social relationships with others. (What we can contribute, rather than what we can take)

Possibly rather an academic posting, and for which I apologize! However, I find that Harter's quotes open up possibilities for me to play and experiment with who I am within different relational contexts (wife, mother, sister, colleague, etc) I always feel like I am a 'work in progress', and I wondered whether some of Harter's thoughts might also resonate with anyone else.

My best wishes as always,

Friday, 7 January 2011

Authentic Leadership Conference 2011

Depending on how you've come across my blog, you may or may not know about the UK's only Authentic Leadership conference.

Authentic Leadership and Business Ethics: The 21st Century Imperative - A A sustainable future built on trust

Central London, 14th September 2011

This is an unparalleled opportunity to hear senior leaders from business, the military and the public sector share their thoughts on leadership, and whether pro-social, ethically driven authentic leadership can lead us through the challenges facing us today.

The speakers will explore:

Values-led leadership within Honda
Leadership lessons from the military
Pro-social and ethical authentic leadership
How to integrate business ethics within your leadership practise
Your own Authentic Leadership Quotient

Expect stimulating debate, thought-provoking discussion and lively sessions with:

Ken Keir, OBE, Executive Vice President, Honda Motor Europe
Philippa Foster-Back, OBE, Director, Institute of Business Ethics
Matthew Taylor, Chief Executive, Royal Society of Arts and former political aide to Tony Blair
Group Captain John Jupp, OBE, RAF Leadership Centre
Philip Hayday-Brown, Polar Explorer
Fiona Beddoes-Jones, Business Psychologist and M.D. of The Cognitive Fitness Consultancy

Full speaker profiles are available on the conference website:

As one of the speakers, I hope to meet you there!

My best wishes as always

Authentic Leadership within the military

After all the data analysis, I've got some fantastic results for my PhD with my RAF military sample and I'm currently working with some major UK organisations to generate a secondary business sample so I can compare the two, which really makes me feel as if my PhD is progressing in the right direction!

(In case you don't know, at the time of writing, I'm currently 5 years into a part-time PhD which will probably take me 7 in total by the time I've written it up, as I have to fit my studies around a full-time job as a Managing Director and business psychologist and I also have to be a 'mum').

As well as designing and writing the UK's first Authentic Leadership 360 questionnaire, I've also written a feedback report. Each participant’s personal Authentic Leadership 360 report includes feedback on the the following elements:

• Self-awareness and Self-regulation
• Ethical Virtue and Ethical Actions
• Multiple perspectives on leadership

Are you interested in some of the results that my research has found?

Well, you probably won’t be surprised to learn that on a scale of 1-5 where 1 is Strongly Disagree and 5 is Strongly Agree, overall, the RAF officers who participated in the PhD research study scored most highly in the areas of Ethics and Self-regulation.

It will be interesting to see how the participants in the business sample score against the same questionnaire.

But what do these RAF results tell us? Well, they suggest a number of things to me.

Firstly, that our RAF officers are recognised by subordinates and colleagues as being ‘in control’ of their day-to-day behaviours. Because of the military context, we can take this self-discipline to relate to diet and exercise as well as having a disciplined and controlled approach to their working practices such as the hours they work, the tasks they achieve and their equilibrium regarding their mood and temper.

Secondly, they suggest to me that the military ethos of pro-social leadership and service to others, which is one of the RAF core values, is very much lived within the RAF via their day-to-day leadership activities, and it’s impressive to see that translated into, and measured by, our new Authentic Leadership 360.

Now, more than ever before, leaders are having their thoughts and behaviours examined under a microscope and are being expected to be either a Superman or a Superwoman. It’s much easier to just be yourself. That’s where the new Authentic Leadership 360 can help. I just hope that you get a chance to use it within your organisation.

My best wishes as always,