Authentic leadership

Authentic leadership is a leadership approach centered around genuine and self-aware leaders who openly display their true selves, values, and beliefs. These leaders prioritize building meaningful connections, fostering trust, and promoting ethical behavior within their teams and organizations. By embracing authenticity, they inspire and empower others to excel, contributing to a positive and inclusive work culture.

Podcast Audio Transcript

Mimi: Hello listeners, this is Mimi; thank you for tuning in to yet another exciting and informative podcast from us at Infosys BPM. Today, we are discussing about the authentic leadership. And to talk about this, we have here with us, Clifford Mohan Pai, Vice President & Head of Employee Relations. Welcome Clifford. How are you?

Clifford: I’m doing great Mimi. It’s so nice to be part of another podcast.

Mimi: We love having you here with us.

First of all, Clifford, I feel that many people struggle with authenticity and make generic statements about it. Why do many people find it hard to be truly authentic?

Clifford: That’s a great question, Mimi. I would like to answer this through a quote by American author and podcast host Brene Brown. She says, “Authenticity is a practice you choose every day”. We often state how “we wish that we were more authentic” or “true to ourselves”.

Instead of making generalized statements, Brene Brown wants to shift the narrative and instead make us question why, in fact, are we not authentic.

Are we scared of what people will think of us? Do we have an obsessive need to please everyone and be liked? Do we try to force habits and passions of people whom we deem successful? Are we doing something because someone else told us? Do we physically try to look more like someone whom we consider superior?

These are all important questions. When we reflect on these questions, we can come up with a number of reasons as to why we find it so hard to be authentic.

Mimi:That’s something I resonate very well with. I think it’s a common theme among lots of folks to be well liked by their peer group or to mimic the traits of people whom they deem superior.

Could you elaborate on what it means to be truly authentic and why we should stop trying to be someone else, especially in a corporate setting?

Clifford: Authenticity, by definition, means someone is “of undisputed origin”, “genuine” or “real”. You as a human being are “real” and of “undisputed origin”. We do not have to try to be authentic. Instead, we need to try to be ourselves.

Think about the person you are, and all the aspects of your life. Is that really you, or are you motivated by something or someone else? Channel all the effort that you put into being everything that you are not, to figure out your true goals, likes and dislikes, and passions and opinions.

When we look at the corporate world, we should think of what kind of leaders we require. After some of the corporate fiascos at the turn of the century, there was a great need for us to have true authentic leaders in corporates. And that's when this term “authentic leadership” was brought to the fore by Bill George, former Medtronic CEO and Harvard Business School professor.

Mimi: Yes, I agree. Authenticity is essential to gain respect in today’s corporate world. What would you say are the key traits of an authentic leader?

Clifford: It’s an important question, Mimi.

Leaders are defined by their values as well as their character. The values of an authentic leader are shaped by his/her personal beliefs, developed through study, introspection, and consultation with others, as well as a lifetime of experiences. These values define a leader’s moral compass.

Such leaders know the “true north” of their compass, the deep sense of the right thing to do. A moral compass is essential for a good leader to have a proper sense of what’s right and wrong.

While the development of fundamental values is crucial, integrity is one trait that every authentic leader should have. Integrity is not just the absence of lying, but the ability to tell the whole truth, however painful it may be. If you don’t exercise complete integrity in your interactions, no one will trust you. If they cannot trust you, why would they consider following you? When leaders indulge themselves in lavish perks and the trappings of power, they are damaging their standing as leaders.

In today's corporate world, we continue to need authentic leaders, people of the highest integrity, committed to building enduring organizations. We need leaders who have a deep sense of purpose and are true to their core values. We need leaders who have the courage to build organizations that meet the needs of all their stakeholders, and who recognize the importance serving people and society at large.

Mimi:I totally agree, Clifford. It was such a fruitful discussion we had today, and I am sure our audience would have found this extremely valuable. Thank you so much for your time in today’s podcast with us.

Clifford: It’s a pleasure Mimi.

Mimi: Dear listeners, if you enjoyed our podcast today, please don’t forget to share and like it on social media. Our social handles are mentioned in the podcast page. The podcast will be available on various platforms like Google Podcasts and Spotify, in addition to our website.

Also, if you have any queries, do reach out to us through the email address on the podcast description. Watch this space for more exciting podcasts coming up. Once again, thank you for tuning in, stay safe and stay sharp. Have a nice day!

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