All people have more or less experience in exercising leadership without being aware of it. Leadership is about who you are as a person, how you view life, and how you engage and influence others in accomplishing a common task. We assume leadership roles without thinking about it as parents, teachers, in community organizations, or in other contexts.
Leadership is a very broad field and can be defined in many different ways. It primarily revolves around relationships and interactions among individuals and groups. The ability to make decisions and rally the group to believe in the project and the tasks you want to carry out is what characterizes a leader. Depending on the situation and the purpose, the leadership style also needs to be adapted accordingly. All industries and professions have different needs that require different types of leaders in both private and public sectors.
Five qualities that define an authentic leader
Self-awareness – Authentic leadership is built on having self-awareness and being genuine and true to other people. Authentic leaders are aware of their identity and know their strengths and weaknesses. This allows them to be consistent in their actions and decisions.
Self-control – It is closely related to how well we understand and know ourselves. How well do we lead ourselves? If we lead ourselves well, it contributes to better relationships in various aspects of life, including work, family, and personal interests.
Empathy – Showing empathy for other people is an essential quality of authentic leadership. Empathy is about the ability to understand an individual’s experiences and have respect for the individual and the situation. An authentic leader cares about their team members, demonstrating openness, honesty, trust, and understanding towards them. They are attentive and concerned about their feelings and well-being.
Wisdom – Wisdom involves how we use qualities such as knowledge, experience, or intelligence in a morally and ethically justifiable manner. It also relates to the deep understanding and insight that experienced leaders develop over time. It means having the ability to make wise decisions, navigate through complex situations with calmness, and inspire others with an awareness of the broader aspects of leadership. Wisdom is built on self-reflection, continuous development, and learning from both successes and setbacks.
Courage – An authentic leader leads with both the mind and the heart and dares to show their emotions and vulnerability. Such a leader requires courage and integrity. Courage is a critical character trait that both managers and leaders need. It involves following one’s own path instead of being led by others’ expectations.