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A Firm Foundation Begins with Authenticity

During the 2018 DSL Commissioning service, the dean -School of Business & Leadership, Regent University, Dr. Doris Gomez, said …” leadership isn’t about position, it’s about posture…” - What a true statement. Nowadays it’s rare to find real leaders. Many wear the title but few possess the posture of leadership. Posture is an attitude which comes from a place of persistence and endurance. It’s a mindset which shapes and establishes the character of an authentic leader. It extends beyond competency and charisma. There is a mandate for real, genuine leaders who are keenly aware of who they are. They are competent and they know their capabilities, strengths and weaknesses and they are high achievers.

The future of their organizations and their followers is important to authentic leaders because they believe success is accessible to everyone entrusted in their care. Authentic leaders use foresight as a tool to gain insight on how to navigate the direction of their business. Often regarded as visionaries, authentic leaders dare to seek something greater than themselves as the draw out the greatness in their teams by helping them seek the same. These powerful leaders are focused and unencumbered by past mistakes. they “1forget what lies behind and strain forward to what lies ahead,” Philippians 3:13. In an efforts to attain the goals that are ahead of them, these leaders value their team enough to know they must also drive them forward.

5 Power Moves Authentic Leaders use for High Performance:

  1. Invest in their people - Authentic leaders make sure the followers have everything they need to excel and do well. Employees, stakeholders, are a critical component for the fulfilment of the vision, therefore, providing for them will lower turnover and increase productivity.

  2. Engagement – engaging with followers adds value to them because you value them. The greater the engagement, the better the relationship, the stronger the commitment.

  3. Ethicality – suitable ethical behavior is always in order. Not only should every business have a code of conduct, but it will be seen and enforced because authentic leaders adhere to these principles. Every day news headlines report of culpable, humiliating, unethical behavior found in leadership. Being authentic means having high moral standards and choosing not to compromise. The cost of immoral unethical behavior is priceless. The leader and the company’s reputation, a breech in trust among business relations, and low morale in the office leading to high turnover are a few ramifications of being unethical.

  4. Humility - is one of the most powerful virtues an authentic leader can possess. In Jim Collins’ book, “Good to Great,” he has a 5-level leadership hierarchy. Level 5 leaders are the executives who he describes as modest and self-effacing. Collins describes Level 5 leaders as ones who “display a workmanlike diligence- more plow horse than show horse.” Wise leaders recognize being humble is one of the most effective tools used to build and strengthen themselves as well as their teams. Being able to quickly forgive and not easily be offended or judgmental are key elements of exercising humility, but it’s effective and contagious in the workplace.

  5. Empower others – authentic leaders authorize through encouraging others to shine! If you truly want to see an improvement in productivity and performance, increase how you build up your team. You get the best when you give them your best and when you genuinely give them permission to be their best. You elevate them and place them ahead instead of stifling their talent and hold them back.

Heart Matters

Being the leader others want to follow requires authenticity with the courage to love openly. It’s about loving the work you do while loving the people you serve. Yes, leaders serve. Authentic leaders are also servant leaders. Leaders who love risk exposing the heart and being vulnerable. However, when you care more about leading well then about protecting your feelings, you actually are more significant as a leader to your followers. Are you willing to be unashamedly transparent before your followers? When the heart leads in love, it ignites a fire which spreads and establishes a work environment that feels safe and secure. Creating an atmosphere of trust and satisfaction provides a foundation for creativity and a desire to do ones best. Love is a key motivator.

A final point, it is important to look at failure and how it impacts you as a leader. It can cause you to waiver from being authentic. Failure is inevitable. How are you going to deal with it? It depends on your perspective. It can halt progress and cause you to become sorry for yourself, or it can propel you to continue moving forward. In your quest for value and worth, mistakes will be made. Often, the higher you go, the greater the error, but what will make or break you as a leader are the steps you take after the failure. Failure is a perfect opportunity to learn how to make appropriate adjustments to change and do things better. It’s only a test, change how the failure makes you feel and instead think about what needs to happen next. How you deal with failure teaches your team how to acknowledge and move forward from failure.

Be inspirational, be accountable, be real, and be authentic to those who depend on you to lead them.

Dr. E. Michelle Mickens, DSL


I'm extremely excited to share the reveal of my new book release. "When Purpose Exceeds Profits". It's for the inexperienced leader who feels overwhelmed and need direction, and it's for the established leader who is looking for new strategies to move their organization forward. Pre-sales begin, August 16, 2018 @

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