We live in a time of fake news. Fake politicians. Fake social media followers. Fake advertising clicks. Fake genetically modified foods. Fake body parts. Everywhere we turn, there is some scandal followed by another one. It’s hard to know who to trust, and more importantly who to turn to for genuine care.
Employees are disengaged with lack of trust, and loyalty in both directions. Relationships have become dispensable fragile temporary alliances, not rooted in trust and authenticity, but on the benefits that can be derived from them.
At the heart of all these issues facing our way of life today, is a severe lack of authentic leaders. We need genuine, authentic leaders at the helm of companies, organizations, and governments. Leaders that genuinely care about other people, and who have developed self-mastery.
The path towards becoming an authentic leader is not easy. It requires taking complete and full responsibility for your life. Being willing to confront aspects of yourself, that in some cases, leave a lot to be desired. However, the gift of learning and owning your character flaws, is that it can help you begin to reshape them and take control of them.
Anything worth having is always met with great adversity.
Mastering the skills of leadership requires identifying the qualities of a great leader. A great leader exercises good moral character, is compassionate, is accepting, is open, is accountable, has high integrity, and is on a constant quest to acquire knowledge, invests in self-awareness, self-growth and seeks ways to apply wisdom, not just knowledge. Finally, a great leader exemplifies perseverance, and resilience.
A leader’s goal is to set the example, and lead by example.
To become a great leader, you must become someone lead by core values, and someone who is committed to self-realization. The hardest person to lead is your own self.
An authentic leader is not defined by how many people work for them, rather by how many people their example influences for the betterment of humanity.
Authentic leadership starts at home, in your community, at the office, in your town, city, country, and it extends out to the world. A truly authentic leader can influence the course of thousands of lives, without ever coming in contact or having any communication with any of them. How is that possible?
Say a friend comes to you with a problem he/she is facing, and it happens to be something you are also struggling with yourself, leadership in that case isn’t shown within the words of advice you give your friend, but by your commitment to take on that challenge and overcome it yourself. The consciousness behind that decision is so that you can make it possible for your friend to overcome his/her problem, by way of your example.
To further explain this, imagine you struggle with pornography, and a friend comes to you revealing in confidence that he/she may have a problem with watching too much porn. There are no words or wisdom you can share with your friend that will help them overcome the problem. If you really want to help your friend, overcome your own problem with pornography first.
This is the true essence of leadership. Taking on other people’s problems as your own, overcoming your own challenges as a means to helping others do the same. An exceptional leader is tuned in to his/her surroundings as a way to identify his/her areas of self-improvement.
Be the Example
If someone that works for you does not make it to meetings on time, is it possible there are areas in your own life where you don’t show up on time? Perhaps you are supposed to have dinner with your family at 8:00pm but you work an extra 30 minutes and show up at home 30 minutes late.
Most of us will use the excuse “I had to work another 30 minutes, the project needed me”, but the family needed you too… so don’t be surprised if employees show up 30 minutes late to work, or to an important meeting… because it is a reflection of you, and your lack of commitment to being on time in all aspects of your own life.
Most people live a duplicitous life, thinking that what they do at work, is different than their home life.
There is no such thing as separate work life and family life, what you do in one affects the other and this is true in all aspects of life.
Most who don’t realize this, end up repeating the same patterns with the people they attract. The truth is, the problem is not with the employee who isn’t meeting your expectations, the problem is buried deep inside you as the leader, and the only way to fix it, is to look within yourself, and fix yourself.
When you change yourself to be someone who shows up on time in every aspect of your life, magically people start to show up on time. Yes, that is the power of authentic leaders who harness that inner spirit that creates everything that resonates outside themselves.
Having a system of self-realization is more important that an MBA, or any other educational investment you can make. If you look at the most exceptional leaders of all time, some of them never went to College, but all of them left behind inspiration, because they understood the greatest secret of leadership of all time. Invest in self -awareness through a path of self-realization, or as some call it spirituality.
Becoming a self-leader is about becoming inner self-directed and a person that exudes or emanates positive attributes that contribute to the betterment of humanity.
It has been proven by science that it isn’t what we say that influences everyone around us, it is our vibrations. The waves we give off influence everyone we come in contact with.
Many talk about self-care, it is an important practice and very much needed. However, the desire to take care of yourself so that you can take better care of others, is based on an even higher consciousness. That’s the true essence of an authentic leader.
Leadership is about giving. To become an exceptional leader, one must become an exceptional servant. I am not talking about altruism; I am talking about creating for others that which you want to experience yourself.
When you care deeply about the people that voluntarily get behind your vision, be it your family, friends, employees, peers, you begin to transform within yourself the very things that those you lead need help to overcome.
Any flaws you identify outside of yourself is simply a reflection of something you need to become better at yourself. You must lead yourself out of chaos in order to remove chaos from other people’s lives.
Next time you are bothered by someone’s behavior or actions, know that the only reason it bothers you is because you possess that character flaw within yourself, otherwise you would not notice it in them. See it as a gift, a mirror of what you can improve about yourself.
To improve the world, to make the world a better place, you must lead the world out of chaos; the first person to lead is yourself. That’s the beginning of authentic leadership.
*Originally published at tulliosiragusa.com.
Tullio Siragusa is an expert level Certified Life Coach, a pioneer of disruptive technologies, an emotional intelligence (EQ) thought leader, futurist, speaker, and author. For the past 30 years, Tullio has built world class leadership teams in technology companies and startups. Tullio currently serves as Chief Strategy Officer at Nearsoft, he co-produces and hosts DojoLIVE! a platform that gives voice to emerging technology luminaries. He also hosts Rant & Grow, an entertaining and heart-centered reality podcast where each episode explores people’s personal blockages and how to powerfully move forward with careers, relationships, and self-realization by developing healthy habits. As a founding member of Radical, a social justice movement, Tullio is a strong supporter of human-dignity in all aspects of life, including freedom in the workplace.
Image courtesy of Fox.