Authentic Leadership – Authentic Leadership

Bill George has a point: he says in his book that leadership is not simply role or style, but that what is primarily important is authenticity.

This has five elements:

  • Understanding the target
  • Living consistent values
  • Leading with heart
  • establish relationships
  • show self-discipline

Alright, that’s pretty generic for now, and the rest of the book didn’t push me that much for this topic. It does, however, have some good insights on a few other business management topics (if you’re interested: seven deadly sins of being in the marketplace) and it gets a little too esoteric for me personally. Bill George packs the proper insight that you can’t acquire this authenticity simply by reading into the methaphor of having to go through purgatory.

Leadership in the 21st century

Then the second book, True North, from 2008, reconciled me to the terms. It fleshes out the key points in a table:

Characteristics20th century leader21st Century Leader
FocusUS-centricGlobal view
MotivationSelf-interestThe best for the organization
ExperiencePerfect resumeLearning through challenges
Time horizonShort termLong-term
ApproachHierarchical leadershipDistributed leadership
Greatest strengthIQEQ (emotional intelligence)
Personal standardExternal evaluationIntrinsic contribution

The true North elements

It still has five elements, but I find the new wording much more catchy:

  • Self-awareness
  • Values
  • sweet spot
  • support team
  • Integrated life

And then he has the concept of the sweet spot between motivation and skills. This, I think, is a perfect entry point into looking at what leadership should be in an agile environment.


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On Key

The VSM Quick Guide: the model

The introduction to the series on Jon Walker’s VSM quick guide. It describes the simplified VSM vocabulary as used in the rest of the steps.