Authentic leadership

Maria Scruggs

Dear Editor,

Leaders, a word tossed around in America like a rag doll, leaving the impression that leaders are like opinions everyone can be one!  As a community, we often find ourselves in discussions defining anyone that is at the top of the organization as a leader, and technically that is true.

However, in light of all the private sector unethical practices going rogue and the amount of waste in the public sector, companies and public sector organizations in the 21st century began to look closely at its leaders. The 21st century also brought about drastic changes as it relates to fewer resources but greater needs.

The focus on leadership began to be viewed in the context of skills and competencies, a point I have made several times before but it bears repeating. When volunteer and non-volunteer organizations find themselves engaged in a lot of activities but with little results, the pendulum has swung toward training leaders on the concept of authentic leadership.

Authentic leadership is grounded in the principles of benevolence, truth, morality and discernment. The primary objectives of one being trained in authentic leadership help participants understand how to move beyond their own self-interests and self -gratification.

Another objective that is integrated is distinguishing between facts and opinions. Many organizations fall apart due to the leader having a set of opinions and practices that simply lead to their own self –interests, and the moment that members or employees of an organization find themselves asserting an opinion or fact other than the leader, they will often find themselves ostracized from the group or fired in the event of an employee situation.

As voters we have to learn to apply the principles of authentic leadership to the people we hire to elect us.  Polls have begun to size up races based on the individual that has the deepest pockets. While that has been true in some cases, there have been instances that in spite of deep pockets the people decided that their votes were not going to be bought.

Organizations wishing to take the job of selecting leaders based on the individual’s purpose being grounded in leadership, integrity and benevolence to others as opposed to themselves, check out Don Levonius, owner of Victory Performance consulting.

Maria L. Scruggs

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