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Ten Signs That You Know You Need Rebuild Your Executive Brand with Authentic Leadership

Ten Signs That You Know You Need Rebuild Your Executive Brand with Authentic Leadership

Authentic LeadershipI just read a statistic that 80% of working people go home at the end of the day unsatisfied or unfulfilled by their work.    There was no source quoted but I think of the days I left work and was depleted by my day.  That means that eight of every ten people you know that work, are not happy doing that work.  People handle that discomfort differently but generally it does stay with the source of the problem. It leaks out all over your world and the people around you.  That makes for a seriously long life.  Of course we have all have things happen and have our bad days.   When you compound that day after day or year after year, the grind destroys us as creative joyful human beings.  Of course that might explain why liquor stores are cash cows.  It might explain why people are overweight and not really connecting dots to the lackluster bit of unhappiness.

Here is a quick check:

  1. People annoy you.  Not just at work but on the road, in the market, at church, restaurants they annoy you and they are everywhere.
  2. At the end of the day you have spent eight or more hours in meetings and you are exhausted.
  3. You do not have a minute to day dream.
  4. On the way to and from work you listen to news or make phone calls for work.
  5. You do not have dinner with people you love or cannot advance your career.
  6. You get mad when you least expect it.
  7. You are counting the days /weeks/months to first possible moment you can retire.
  8. People do not do what you think they will do when you delegate.
  9. People around you no longer smile or there is no laughter in the halls.
  10. You do not feel energized in your work.  i.e. when you have completed a presentation and that rush of dopamine goes through your system you just feel done instead of elated.

Okay now you know you are one of the eighty percent.  But what do you expect when you have a full calendar, hundreds of emails and many urgent phone calls? Doing the same thing, going to the same job and keeping your eye on the prize will not “solve” that empty feeling inside.  If you are waiting for the board or your boss to give you permission to make the necessary changes, move to the next level or to take on more responsibility, then you have handed your power to those around you.  That is on you.

The truth behind authenticity is this is your life, designed and executed by you.

Numbness is a hard battle to fight.  I am sure you get it but it is not urgent and it is not ringing or expecting an answer or a power point right now.   But it is killing you and your spirit.

The solution is easier than you think, but it takes courage.  If you knew that with a bit of effort you could reconnect with who you really are and be happier would you do it?  What if you had the courage to speak more authentically more often?   What if you knew that after few bold steps you could feel good at the end of the day more often?  Find your inner authentic leader and bring him/her to work.

Authentic Leadership is not just a hip term that people throw around.

It is a level of authenticity that comes directly from your insides or some might say inner self or spirit.  You remember as a kid when you would leave the house at the beginning of the day in summer, find all kinds of things to do and then come home when you were hungry?  That was your spirit driving the course of the day.   Remember that in your work place?  It may not be possible to run, jump and play at work.  But the closer you are to that spirit driving you the more it feels like play and you will be energized by your work instead of depleted.

Authentic Leadership is not one hundred percent transparency.  It includes appropriate transparency. The term describes a level of self-understanding that you can effectively be in the moment and present (not numb) during the course of your day.  Avolio and Gardner defined Authentic Leadership as to the depth that leaders are:

  • leader self-awareness
  • relational transparency
  • internalized moral perspective
  • balanced processing.

Authentic Leadership is a tested theory boiled down to the attributes above.  Avolio and Gardner were looking for “high levels of transparency, integrity and moral standards which they posited to produce elevated levels of trust, hope, positive emotions and optimism among followers which in turn elicit increases in commitment, satisfaction and other positive work outcomes (e.g. engagement, meaningfulness, well-being.)”  (Walumba p.106)

Authentic Leadership

The operative words are self-awareness along with the right amount of transparency, having a strong sense of right and wrong or a moral compass guiding you and then gathering enough data to be fair about the decision process.  With these theoretical suggestions, how do you go from numb to being an authentic leader?  Take the first step of reconnecting with who you really are and what you stand for in the middle of the business of life.  This, by the way, does not stop at the office door it permeates everything you do.  There are plenty of ways to do this.   One exercise is the “7 Why’s.”  It helps to get someone else to ask the questions and hold your feet to the fire on the answer.    But ask yourself why this is important to you?   Or when you get riled up, take a moment to notice what might be the underlying cause.   Ask yourself, what do I stand for?

When in doubt go back to basics.  Take your time with this.  Call us if you want help with the courage to get centered and take your first step in authentic leadership.

If you find yourself troubled with establishing more authentic leadership skills in the work place and need the right guidance and coaching to make great choices, call or email Pat Weiland, Executive Coach and President of Sage Strategies.
+1 310-503-5856


Avolio, B.J., Gardner, W.L., (2005). Authentic Leadership Development: Getting to the Root of Positive Forms of Leadership. The Leadership Quarterly, 16, 315 – 338.


Avolio, B.J., Gardner, W.L., Peterson, S.J. Walumbwa, F.O. & Wernsing, T.S. (2008). Authentic   Leadership: Development and Validation of a Theory-Based Measure? Journal of Management, 34(1), 89-126. DOI: 10.1177/0149206307308913

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