As we previously discussed, authentic leadership is composed of four components: self-awareness, internalized moral perspective, balanced processing, and relational transparency (Northouse, 2010). These are traits that can be nurtured and developed, which is why we think this blog will have positive, tangible effects!
The following study from New Zealand is based on the research of Maree Roche and shows an example of how students can learn authenticity in leadership through their personal experiences.
The students in this study kept a reflection journal, they dug “into their own history investigating their own path as a leader and reflect on major (and minor) life experiences and values and assess how they have learned about behavior, its outcomes for themselves and their own leadership” (Roche, 2010).
They were asked to were asked to “incorporate into the reflection and experience aspects of ‘learning leadership’ times when they believed they acted with authenticity and also when they viewed their ‘authenticity’ may have been challenged.” At the end of the class they had compiled 20 journal entries, quite a substantial amount of information and self-reflection. From this breadth of information they then condensed these journal entires into one final entry, a “Best Authentic Self” narrative. This narrative described “their experience/s of ‘being authentic’; times where it had grown or thwarted, why this was so, and any goals they wanted to set from there…The developing leader then has a point of view regarding their own authenticity that is personal, developed from personal experiences, personal refiection and personal meaning, with the opportunity to set personal developmental goals.”
While this particular exercise was time-consuming, it provides a concrete, and deeply personal, link between the theory of authentic leadership and practice and reality. If you don’t have time to create 20 journal entires regarding your personal experiences to culminate in the comprehensive creation of a “Best Authentic Self” profile, please take a moment to reflect….
- Think of a few life experiences that you feel affected you and your leadership.
- Think about how you can develop further in leadership from your past.
- What goals do have for yourself and your leadership?
If you would like to read Roche’s study, please follow this link: Learning Authentic Leadership in New Zealand
Northouse, P.G. (2010). Leadership: Theory and practice, 5th ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Roche, M. (2010). Learning Authentic Leadership In New Zealand: A Learner-Centred Methodology And Evaluation. American Journal Of Business Education, 3(3), 71-79.