According to Fred Kiel, KRW co-founder and author of Return on Character (2015), “Low-character leaders undermine the success of even the best business plans.” This quotation illustrates the importance of leadership and stewardship in an organization. Here are two examples of leaders who embody the spirit of authentic leadership.
True leaders embody compassion, integrity, forgiveness, and humbleness. They stand for what they believe to be right and demonstrate commitment to the team and the organization and are strong enough to welcome ideas and opinions that do not match their own. Leaders show strength and vulnerability by allowing team members to participate in tough conversations, the kind of discourse that builds great teams and inspires creativity.
Effective leaders are mentors. A true mentor is more than just the person who holds the unwritten rules but is also a source of comfort and a confidant. Mentors have a way of making people feel special, heard, safe, and cared for. David Brooks wrote in The Road to Character (2015), “Moral improvement occurs most reliably when the heart is warmed, when we come into contact with people we admire and love and we consciously and unconsciously bend our lives to mimic theirs.” Mentors embody compassion, insight, and intention in their actions.
If you are finding your culture and strategy are clashing, consider looking at your leaders. Are they able to be vulnerable, open to discussion, and do their actions match their motives? Do they inspire? Do they lead with integrity; are they trusted and trustworthy? The answers to these questions can help you get started toward inspirational leadership.