Authentic Leadership

Authentic Leadership

By: Sensei Dave Hanson

“The new standard bearer for leadership in the Twenty first century is Authenticity” That is the response that I heard from John Maxwell when asked what will define leadership in the years to come.  In other words, “Be real”.  The world is looking for leaders in all fields who, “Walk their talk.” Leaders who can be trusted and can be counted on to do what they say and back their words with their actions.  The world is in need of real men and women who are leaders by their actions.   I once heard a story of a great old Indian chief who was at a gathering to hear a famous speaker.  He sat there stoic and quietly took in all that the speaker had to say.  Later when asked what he thought of the speaker and his comments for the day, the wise old chief cleared his throat and began to speak.  He said, “The speaker is like an empty cloud.  I heard much thunder, but  felt no rain.”

It is important  that we as leaders in every field give the people who follow us what they need.  Our followers and the leaders who we are brining up for the next generation are skeptical and they are looking for people who not only give hope, but also give results that will change their life for the better and back those results up with authenticity.  Today’s society is looking for leaders who not only give thunder, but also bring the rain.  Like a crop approaching harvest time in the middle of a Summer’s drought, people are thirsty for leaders who can feed their mind, heart and soul with hope and direction.  They are looking for leaders whom they can believe in and follow.  When it comes to authentic leadership as coach Jay Carty once said, “Be a constant and consistent example, a positive role model; and to paraphrase Saint Francis of Assisi, “When necessary use words.’”  As leaders in the Twenty first century we must come to realize that our life is our lesson to the world.  What we say and what we do must not contradict each other, or the message we are trying to convey will be cancelled out and become just empty words.  When people read the message your life is sending, what kind of lesson are they learning?  That is a question we as leaders must ask ourselves daily if we want to remain effective in our leadership roles.  It was Emerson who said, “I cannot hear what you are saying because your actions speak too loudly.”  As we approach each new day lets be leaders of authenticity who bring life giving rain to our followers and help them grow and avoid the empty words of thunder that may sound big and impressive, but carry no substance for the growth of our followers.

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