Will Salyards
Leadership Coaching and Mentoring

Will Salyards, PhD Blog

Life, Career, Leadership

Authentic Leaders and Followers

If you find yourself wanting leaders to be "real" you're not alone, seems most people do. The premise is simple: when leaders are authentic those who follow them have a better experience. But when is a leader authentic? For that matter, when are followers authentic? Here’s three ways you can tell. Leaders and followers are perceived as authentic when, 1) they act like they know who they are, 2) they act like who they are, and 3) they act with a sense of virtue. Sounds simple? It isn't.

First, leaders have to be able to know who they really are; something not so easily accomplished when thought to be beyond challenge, praised for performance more than virtue, or completely devastated. This is made all the more difficult when leaders consistently receive messages about the style of their leadership but not so much about its substance.

Second, followers have to know when the leader is expressing who they really are. Since we can't know a leader’s inner thoughts, our only objective measure is in how they act. We will not follow someone who does not know themselves, at least until our need that the leader reflect us exceeds our need of virtue. And that is when we become inauthentic too. Want to explore authenticity; coaching is good place to start. Explore more here.