Authentic leadership is…

a nice theory but…

What does it mean to be authentic?  According to Websters Dictionary, the word authentic means “reliable as a source of information” .  It also means ” genuine, real, sure, true, and trustworthy”

If I asked how you would describe your authentic self, what would you say?  Would you define your true self as compassionate, empathic, intelligent, thoughtful, mindful, supportive, innovative and a great communicator?  I would imagine that it would be rare to possess all these qualities and display them all the time.  What about the times we get angry, hurt, bitter, upset, emotional and we either want to avoid a confrontation or take someone on?  Isn’t this also part of being authentic?

I’m sure you can see where I am heading here.  If we were truly authentic leaders we would demonstrate a range of behaviours depending on our emotions at the time.  Being authentic is lovely in theory but unless you naturally possess the qualities mentioned above, it won’t make for a great leader.

Leadership is very simple, if you stop being authentic, stop making it about you (because leadership is never about the leader) and follow the “7 Naked Clues”  you will have everything you need to become an effective leader.

What are the 7 Naked Clues?

1.  Clear expectations…then follow up

2. Ask questions…then shut up and listen

3.  Support them…while they learn

4. Empathy (not sympathy)

5. Share the secret

6. How you do it matters

7. It’s their challenge…let them solve it!

Where do the 7 Naked Clues come from?

If you are interested in reading more about the 7 Naked Clues you can check out the book Naked Leadership written by David Bentley.

The first person to leave a comment on this post will receive a signed copy of the book absolutely FREE!!!




2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sukh Pabial
    Sep 26, 2011 @ 06:16:52

    Never one to pass up an opportunity like this, the I’m game!

    Interesting post, although have always liked the idea of being authentic. Even in the situations you’ve described above, being angry or upset is still being authentic. I think the difference is how these come together and become manifest. If others see us managing and displaying these well then we are seen as authentic. If we hide or badly manage and display these emotions then we would be seen as not being so.


    • judythesweetspot
      Sep 26, 2011 @ 06:28:45

      Thanks for your comment Sukh! Being upset or angry is definately being authentic but it’s not helpful in a leadership context. To be a leader you must be able to disconnect from these emotions. It doesn’t mean you don’t have any emotions: you are able to remove them from the situation. You will be able to read more about this as you are the first person to respond to my post so you get the free book! If you could send me an address for the book I can post it off to you. My personal email is


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