Is the Authentic Leadership Risky ?

Intro
Authentic Leadership is  based on the leader's transparency, honesty, and sincerity towards their collaborators. The Authentic Leadership is founded on self-awareness and understanding one's values, beliefs, and emotions, as well as authenticity in how these values, beliefs, and emotions are expressed and shared with others.




1. Definition of the Authentic Leader: main characteristics

 The key characteristics of Authentic Leadership are as follows:

  1. Self-awareness: Authentic Leaders are aware of their strengths, weaknesses, values, and beliefs, and are able to recognize and share them with their collaborators.

  2. Transparency: Authentic Leaders are open and transparent in their communications, sharing their thoughts, feelings, and motivations in an honest manner.

  3. Integrity: Authentic Leaders act in accordance with their values and beliefs, and are consistent in their behavior and decisions.

  4. Respect: Authentic Leaders treat others with respect and dignity, and value the diversity of opinions and perspectives.

  5. Authentic relationship: Authentic Leaders establish strong and authentic relationships with their collaborators, being open, receptive, and attentive.

In summary, Authentic Leadership is centered on truth and integrity, aiming to create an environment where leaders and collaborators can be themselves, respect each other, and work together effectively and harmoniously.



2. Origins of Authentic Leadership

 The theory of Authentic Leadership is relatively recent compared to other Leadership theories. It emerged in the 2000s in response to a growing demand for Authentic and transparent Leaders in an increasingly complex and uncertain world.

The concept of Authentic Leadership was introduced by Bill George, former CEO of Medtronic, in his book "Authentic Leadership" published in 2003. In this work, George describes Authentic Leadership as Leadership based on personal values and deep convictions, not on power, status, or money. According to him, Authentic Leaders are aware of their own values and beliefs and act in accordance with them, while being open and transparent in their communications.

Since the introduction of the concept by Bill George, many researchers and academics have taken an interest in Authentic Leadership and sought to define it, identify its characteristics, and evaluate its impacts on organizations and individuals. Among the researchers who have contributed to the development of the theory of Authentic Leadership, we can mention Fred Luthans and Bruce Avolio, who developed a model of Authentic Leadership in 2003, based on self-awareness, transparency, ethics/morality, and personal growth.



3. Strengths and weaknesses of the Authentic Leader's style

3.1 Strengths

 Authentic Leaders have several strengths that make them effective and appreciated by their collaborators. Here are some of their main strengths:

  1. Self-awareness: Authentic Leaders have a strong self-awareness; they know their strengths, weaknesses, values, and beliefs, and are able to integrate them into their decision-making and behavior.

  2. Integrity: Authentic Leaders act in accordance with their values and beliefs, and are consistent in their behavior and decisions, which strengthens their credibility and trust.

  3. Transparency: Authentic Leaders are open and transparent in their communications, sharing their thoughts, feelings, and motivations in an honest way, which creates a relationship of trust with their collaborators.

  4. Active listening: Authentic Leaders are good listeners; they are open and receptive to the ideas and opinions of others, and seek to understand their perspective.

  5. Empathy: Authentic Leaders show empathy towards others; they are able to put themselves in the place of their collaborators and understand their needs and concerns.

  6. Ability to inspire and motivate: Authentic Leaders can inspire and motivate their collaborators by sharing a clear vision and giving meaning to their work.

  7. Respect: Authentic Leaders treat others with respect and dignity, and value the diversity of opinions and perspectives.

In summary, Authentic Leaders have the ability to create a positive and motivating environment, where collaborators feel valued, respected, and engaged, which contributes to improving the organization's performance and the well-being of individuals.



3.2 Criticisms or shortcomings of Authentic Leadership

 Although Authentic Leadership has many advantages, there are also certain challenges and limitations associated with this leadership.

  1. Too much transparency can be counterproductive: Excessive transparency can sometimes be perceived as a lack of professionalism or self-control, especially if the leader shares personal or emotional information in inappropriate situations.

  2. Difficulty adapting to different situations: Authentic Leaders may sometimes have difficulty adapting to different situations or modifying their behavior according to the context, as they want to remain true to themselves and their values. This can sometimes be perceived as a lack of flexibility.

  3. Risk of favoritism: Authentic Leaders tend to establish strong and authentic relationships with their colleagues, which can sometimes be perceived as favoritism towards certain team members.

  4. Vulnerability: By being open and transparent, Authentic Leaders can feel more vulnerable, as they reveal their personal thoughts and feelings. This can sometimes be used against them, especially in situations of conflict or competition.

  5. Difficulty making unpopular decisions: Authentic Leaders may have difficulty making unpopular decisions that go against the values or beliefs of their colleagues, as they want to maintain a positive and authentic relationship with them.




4. Situations in which the Authentic Leader style is suitable

 The Authentic Leadership is generally well-suited to a variety of situations, particularly those that require transparency, integrity, and a strong relationship between the leader and the collaborators. Here are some situations where Authentic Leadership can be particularly effective:

  1. Organizational change: Periods of change can be difficult for employees, and Authentic Leadership can help navigate through these times by providing open and honest communication and supporting employees throughout the process.

  2. Crisis management: In times of crisis, employees look for leaders who are honest, transparent, and capable of providing clear direction. Authentic Leaders can be particularly effective in these situations as they are likely to communicate transparently and show empathy towards employees.

  3. Diverse environments: Authentic Leaders are generally open and respectful towards different perspectives and cultures, which makes them well-suited to lead diverse teams.

  4. Employee development: Authentic Leaders are generally good at establishing strong relationships with their employees and helping them develop professionally. They are often seen as mentors or coaches who can provide valuable advice and support.

  5. Collaborative environments: Authentic Leadership can be particularly effective in environments where collaboration and teamwork are essential, as Authentic Leaders are often good at establishing trustful relationships and encouraging open communication among team members.



5. Situations in which the Authentic Leader style is not suitable

 While Authentic Leadership can be effective in many situations, there are certain circumstances in which this Leadership may be less suitable:
  1. Situations requiring quick and authoritative decision-making: In emergency situations or crises where decisions need to be made quickly and without consultation, Authentic Leadership, which is often associated with open communication and collaborative decision-making, may not be the most appropriate.
  2. Highly structured and regulated environments: In environments where there are strict rules and procedures to follow, the authentic style, which can sometimes be perceived as flexible and adaptable, may not be the best fit.
  3. Incompatible organizational culture: If an organization's culture values hierarchy, power, and control, rather than transparency, integrity, and authenticity, then Authentic Leadership may be at odds with these organizational values.
  4. Teams resistant to change: Authentic Leaders are often associated with values of openness and change. If a team is resistant to change and prefers to maintain the status quo, Authentic Leadership may be less effective.
  5. Scenarios requiring impartiality: Authentic Leaders often establish deep personal relationships with their collaborators. This can sometimes make it difficult for the leader to remain impartial and objective in certain situations, such as performance evaluations or promotion decisions.


 

6. Conclusion: nowadays, Authentic Leadership is generally well-suited but also quite risky

Authentic Leader synthesisAuthentic Leadership is generally considered as a positive and effective Leadership. Research has shown that Authentic Leaders can have a positive impact on job satisfaction, employee engagement, organizational performance, and employee well-being.
Authentic Leadership is well-suited to the current environment, which is often characterized by rapid changes, uncertainty, and a growing demand for transparency and integrity from leaders. Authentic Leaders are often perceived as trustworthy and credible individuals, who are capable of guiding their teams through periods of change and turbulence.
However, the Authentic Leadership also carries risks in the modern world. For example, too much transparency can sometimes be perceived negatively, and Authentic Leaders may have difficulty adapting to situations that require quick and authoritative decisions. Moreover, the risk of favoritism and the difficulty of making unpopular decisions can be exacerbated in an environment where fairness and justice are increasingly valued. Thus, while Authentic Leadership is generally seen as a positive style, it also involves significant challenges that must be taken into account.

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Saturday, 24 February 2024