Flying on the Wings of Others 

From very early on in my leadership studies, I embraced the authentic leadership model and set out to make it the center of my research studies.   When you carry out a research study, scholars want to know why the subject matter is of interest to you.  I recall saying that I believe that authentic leadership model embraces the complete domain of the leader (the leader, the followers and the environment).  I believed then and I believe now that this leadership model has the capacity to respond effectively to the everchanging, tumultuous and ambiguous world we witness today.

Authentic leadership model presents every leader with an opportunity for continuous growth.  With the authentic model, there is no destination, only a journey.  The beauty of living and leading within this context, is the role the people you are leading play in your leadership endeavor.  These are the people who are working with you to make things happen.  

Authentic leadership model in a way forces you as the leader to focus on the impact of your behavior on others and humbles you to acknowledge that impact good or bad.  To come to the pinnacle of your influence and impact, you do not only focus on the people that work with you, you recognize your limits as a leader.  

Sometimes, the pressure and demands of the office you occupy or drive to achieve “organizational” goals can blind you as a leader to see how much damage you are inflicting on the emotional and mental health of the people who work with you.  Sometimes, you defend your action by stating the obvious “we all want this company succeed” or repeat the mantra “It is for the greater good”.  Is it really?

Writing in his book “Triggers” Marshal Goldsmith talked about this colleague he worked with earlier in his career, who was gunning for the CEO’s position.  All he cared about was the numbers and woe betide you if you missed the number or remotely indicate that it is not achievable.  He did not want to hear any such nonsense and can often be heard belling  out “do whatever it takes”. 

It wasn’t long before his team members found means and ways to make the numbers.  As you can guess, they resorted to all available shortcuts “from borderline unethical to clearly unethical behaviors”.  The sad part of this story is that the team members did not see their behavior as any kind of moral erosion.  They saw it as their only option for survival.  These unethical behaviors of adjusting numbers and inflating numbers ended up costing the company tens of millions of euros.  This leader’s defense was that he did not ask them to do anything illegal.  Of course, he did not ask them, he did not need to ask, his behavior did the asking.  This story is hardly unique.  

To lead authentically is to lead from a place of courage.  It is to lead from the heart.  It cuts across all the layers and complexities that manifest in our thoughts and behaviors.  These internal interactions fuel our choices and decisions.  

When we are able to cut through these layers, we not only see ourselves as we are, we get true glimpses of how others see us and perceive our actions. 

There is nothing wrong with desiring the next level position or the CEO’s position.  You can get there faster on the wings of others not on their heads.  As you grow, they grow too.  

If you are working with me, you are strengthening your core and embracing the power of true influence. Remember, influence is the ability to get people to do things without coercion, without damaging them  or yourself in the process.  Connect with me today to begin this growth journey.