One of the key take-aways I had from our discussion on Saturday had to do with Authentic Leadership. I was particularly struck by the importance of the idea that Authentic Leadership helps create sustainability. We have all seen, and probably been at times, the leader who tries to act and lead in ways that are outside of their comfort zone and skill set. While this may work in the short term, it cannot work in the long term because it is too taxing on the energy of the leader. Take, for example, the leader who decides they will write a personal birthday note to every staff member and student. If this is authentic, it is a labor of love and, while time consuming, does not drain the leader the way that it would if it were forced and contrived. Thus, it is much more likely that this action will be continued by the leader who is doing it authentically.
That is not to say that leaders should not attempt to grow and change and, in doing so, make those new approaches and philosophies part of their authentic leadership. However, since a key element of successful leadership is the ability to maintain that leadership over the long haul, it is important to lead in ways that are authentic to you and do not drain you of your leadership energy by forcing you to “fake it.”