Authentic Leadership. Another perspective.

"Authentic leadership is the kind that empowers leaders to engage more meaningfully and impactfully in a time of accelerated change."

Leadership is a lifelong journey

If you know my story, you’ll know that leadership has been a common theme for most of my life. I took my first steps into leadership at the age of three when my mum was confined to a wheelchair. Later I led people. People led me. Leadership has, and always will be, a lifelong journey.

We talk so much about leadership in the business world. Next to innovation, I can’t think of a more overused term at risk of losing relevance. However, I never want leadership to grow old. In fact, I believe leadership is finding a new lease of life when connected with authenticity.

Authentic leadership is the kind that empowers leaders to engage more meaningfully and impactfully in a time of accelerated change. It relies on the magic of our stories, the power of our connections, and the outcomes we choose to achieve together.

When I’ve shown authenticity in my leadership, it has brought out the best in others. I find people respond to authenticity. They choose to bring the best of themselves to the job and go the extra mile. In my experience, this type of leadership is the one that achieves exceptional results and a brilliant organisational culture.

A call for more authentic leadership

It’s not just me that sees the benefits of authentic leadership. The data supports business moving towards a more inspiring and authentic style of leadership, not based on hierarchy, position, or title. With dynamic changes in consumer and customer behaviour and advances in technology, leaders need to be on the pulse of change. They need to engender trust in their teams and a two-way connection that can not happen at a head level alone. 

I love this simple definition of authenticity from author and speaker, Dr. Lance Secretan, it’s “the alignment of your head, heart, and feet – thinking, saying, feeling and doing the same thing consistently. This builds trust, and don’t we all love leaders we can trust”.

The challenge in the recent Edelman Global Trust Barometer, shows we live in an anti-trust era. In a study that spans 22 years of leadership analysis, it highlights that we are moving towards a widespread mistrust of societal leaders.

The top finding cites distrust as society’s default, with nearly six in ten respondents confirming this. Yet, in the midst of this cycle of distrust, there is hope for business. It is the only trusted institution, increasing to 61%, ahead of NGOs at 59%, government at 53%, and media at 51%.

Institution's Trust %
Figure 1: Institution’s Trust % (2022 Edelman Trust Barometer)

We know the pandemic has exacerbated feelings of mistrust globally. But what an opportunity for business leaders to build authenticity in the way they lead to gain more trust.

Trust and Authentic Leadership

Trust is one of the outcomes of authentic leadership. It’s at the core of creating meaningful connections internally and externally. It’s critical in gaining new or more loyal customers and retaining the best talent, particularly in uncertain times.

Building trust was highlighted at an AFR Boss Summit through an article entitled, ‘Leadership has to be authentic, big bosses say’, “Business leaders acknowledge [there’s a] loss of public trust … that can only be re-built through better behaviour and more open, transparent and authentic leadership.”  

In an HBR article on ‘Discovering Your Authentic Leadership’, author Bill George, a Harvard Business School professor and former CEO of Medtronic, found that anyone can learn to be an authentic leader. He and his colleagues conducted the largest leadership development study ever undertaken, interviewing multiple business leaders to understand how they became, and remain authentic. 

The article reports that this journey to authenticity begins with leaders understanding their life stories. Authentic leaders make time to examine and reflect on their experiences. They work on developing their self-awareness through courageous self-exploration. It also warns that denial can be the greatest hurdle leaders face in becoming self-aware. Authentic leaders ask for, and listen to, honest feedback. They also use support networks to help them stay grounded.

The authors conclude that authentic leadership is the only way to create long-term results. It may be possible to drive short-term outcomes without being authentic, but achieving business results over a sustained period of time is the ultimate mark of authentic leadership. 

But how do you become a more authentic leader?

As you can probably tell, I’m passionate about leadership but even more so, authentic leadership. I can’t see an alternative way to lead in the climate we find ourselves in. Authenticity takes courage, vulnerability and practice in that order. 

One of the frameworks I use when working with leaders is the 3 C’s model:

  1. CONNECT with your own story 
  2. CREATE meaningful connections
  3. CULTIVATE your leadership athlete
Figure 2: The Magic of Leadership

Every time a leader speaks or delivers any form of communication, it is with the intention of connecting head, heart and feet. It mustn’t happen once. But every time. At the intersection of story, connection and action, lies the magic of genuine leadership. 

Authenticity can be learned by those who find it challenging and harnessed by those who find it easy. There are enormous benefits to being yourself with more skill in a business environment. People will follow you whether they lead you or you lead them. To bring more authentic leadership to the world of business, I believe that a transformative, guided experience which aims to empower leaders, accelerate change, and deliver exceptional results is the way to go.


The future of business is calling for more authentic leaders. Authenticity in leadership requires courage, skill and practice.

While leadership is a journey not a destination we don’t have the time we once did to hone our skills over decades of experience. The world is changing too fast.

That’s why I have consolidated years of authentic leadership experience into a tangible form for leaders to benefit from immediately. There’s nothing more rewarding than successful leaders embracing authenticity to go to a new level of significance. 

If you’re a leader looking to benefit from bringing more of your authentic self to your team or business to deliver exceptional results, I’d genuinely love to hear from you.

Connect with me today on LinkedIn or book a consultation here.

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