Four Tenets Of Authentic Leaders


(By Randy Lane) Vulnerability and leadership expert Brene Brown defines leadership as, “Any person who holds themselves accountable for finding the potential in people and processes and who has the courage to develop that potential.” Leadership has evolved dramatically since the 20th century. The Harvard Business Review book and course on leadership recommends authentic leadership as the most effective type of leadership today.

What is authentic leadership? Essentially, authentic leaders lead with their heart as well as their heads. They know who they are.

When the 75 members of Stanford Graduate School of Business’s Advisory Council had to choose the most important capability for leaders to develop, their answer was clear: self-awareness. Self-awareness is a major component of authentic leadership. It includes knowing your values, your strengths, your limitations, and your motivations.


  1. Emotional Intelligence:

Self-awareness rises again as the key to emotional intelligence. Self-regulation is having the ability to manage your own emotions in a multitude of interactions with people, including heated ones. Empathy is your capacity to actively listen and understand the needs of employees which builds trust.

As defined by Brene Brown, “Vulnerability is uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure. But vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our most accurate measure of courage.” Mental health has also made its presence known in the workplace. As a leader, observe and be empathetic to employees displaying mental health signs such as poor interaction with coworkers and absenteeism.

  1. Leaders are Learners:

Continually learn and grow with conferences, webinars, courses, and reading. Support and provide learning and development of employees.

  1. Communication Skills:

The ability to interact with and communicate effectively with others includes relationships. Authentic leaders have a relationship with their employees. They don’t have to hang out, but having a relationship signals to employees that they are part of a team, and you are their advocate.

Give and receive authentic feedback with both praise and constructive evaluation. Listen actively and talk less. Use the one-second rule of listening by waiting a second after someone speaks before you talk.

  1. Strong Support Team:

Authentic leaders today are not know-all and be-all islands. They have a strong support team around them including their coworkers, colleagues, significant others, and friends. Great leaders collaborate and brainstorm issues and ideas with trusted others.

Although the word authentic gets tossed around in a myriad of situations today, it’s no coincidence that leadership on-air and in business lead to the same skill – authenticity.

Randy Lane is the owner of the Randy Lane Company, which coaches and brands radio and television personalities, business professionals, sports personalities, entrepreneurs, and pop culture artists, helping them master communication skills to have an impact on their audiences. Read Randy’s Radio Ink archives here.



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