The ABCs of Leading By Greatness - Authenticity

Lead By Greatness encompasses eight simple character traits including authenticity, destiny, mastery, humility, vulnerability, generosity, awareness and wisdom. This week, I'd like to cover one of these character traits in depth - authenticity. In this blog post, we'll walk through the ABCs of leading by greatness and how authenticity matters in this walk.

A: What is it? At its core, authenticity is all about being genuine and meaning what you say. Authentic leaders derive their authenticity from their own beliefs and values, and great leaders are agile in the way they adapt to changing situations and diverse people.

B: Why does it matter? Authenticity in leadership matters because leaders who live by their purpose and values are people of authenticity and integrity. They do not need to bully others with the power of their status. Instead, they lead people with the authority of their stature. To illustrate my point, here is a story from the book:

Brand Pretorius is CEO of McCarty Motor Holdings, one of the top 20 automobile retailers in the world. Brand has never been your typical business leader in his over 35 years in the car business. He increased Toyota's share of the South African market from 7 percent to 30 percent, and in only three years from eighth place in customer satisfaction to market leader. His program, The Toyota Touch, was recognized by Toyota as "the Best Customer Satisfaction Initiative in the world." In the automobile business, Brand is considered a virtuoso. He didn't get to this place with just brains, savvy and business sense. These characteristics are out there, but Brand stands alone among his peers because of his authenticity. Leadership is not about what you do but about what you are and what you believe in, Brand says. The legitimacy of my leadership is not the power of my authority, but the power of my ideas and the strength of my spirit. The heart is the fountain of leadership. I look for voluntary commitment, not forced obedience. Leading this way delivers world-class achievement.
For Brand, honesty and integrity have been his driving forces. Treating others fairly results in others treating him with fairness in return. This mutual respect fuels his open attitude and ultimately his unmatched success. And though others have proposed that it was his genial manner, his eye for the market, or his gut for business that have propelled him thus far; the foundation for his success has in fact been his authenticity.

C: What's next? Watch this video on character-driven leadership to learn more about how leaders with authenticity fuel their success with character. [youtube]iy_XFLZcxpE[/youtube] If you're interested in learning more about how you can tap into your greatness as a leader, order a copy of Lead By Greatness.

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