So WHAT do you SEE when You look at this Guy? 

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Yeah, me too!

And … How about this Guy?

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Over the past several years, people have developed a deep distrust of leaders. From politicians to business executives to church leaders, people are finding it difficult to be inspired and follow leaders. Many people are yearning for more transparency and authenticity.

I have sat with many a younger leader in the Church who view the Baby Boomers as the generation of “in-authentic” leaders. I have watched and even felt their cringe as they hear older leaders talk about the need for “authentic leadership.” Many see it as boomer buzz-word.

So I wondered… What does it really mean to be an “authentic” leader? And what is “authentic leadership?” I don’t know if I have the answers, but I know it when I see the real deal, and sense the genuine work of God, working in and through a leader.

One definition:

“Authentic leadership is an approach to leadership that emphasizes building the leader’s legitimacy through relationships with followers that are honest, value follower input, and build on an ethical foundation.” (Wikipedia)
Another definition:
“Authentic Christian leadership is the process whereby servants use their credibility and capability to influence people in a particular context to pursue their God-given direction… Genuine Christian leaders are “servants with the credibility.” — “Being Leaders,” Aubrey Malphurs

As I looked at the topic, authentic leadership might best be examined by breaking it down into FOUR core components. Each will be one of our topics for the next four days.

As we overview each component here… take a moment and evaluate you and your leadership. What would those who know you BEST say about you and your leadership?  How would they rate you in terms of being an “authentic leader?” This can give us a baseline for our discussions.

[ Evaluation GRID:  1=You got it nailed — 2=Generally yes — 3=You need some serious work — 4=They don’t see It in you. ]

1. Authentic leaders are self-aware and self-defined. Authentic leaders understand who they are, who they are not, and they are okay with God’s shaping work in their lives. They are aware of their strengths, their limitations, their sweet spots and their blind spots. They do not act one way in private and another in public; they don’t hide their mistakes or weaknesses.

How would they RATE You?   >  1   2   3  4

2. Authentic leaders are relationally reliable. They are leaders of trust. They are open, transparent and vulnerable, sharing their own stories with those they lead. They are transparent and connect with others on a heart level. This does not mean authentic leaders are “soft.” Communicating in an honest and direct manner is their mark of strength.

How would they RATE You?   >  1   2   3  4

3. Authentic leaders have a strong, internal compass.  Authentic leaders lead from sovereign perspective as oppose to their situational struggles. They do what’s right. They lead and take initiative sourced in a strong base of core values and convictions. They bring about change, but not new for new sake, nor the chasing the fads. The see the big-picture and are focused.

How would they RATE You?   >  1   2   3  4

4. Authentic leaders are mission focused, desiring to see more fruit that “remains.” (John 15). They keep their eyes of the mission and call Christ has given to His Church. They make decisions that benefit Christ’s Kingdom, not their own. They pursue results that make more disciples and help those they influence to discover and live out their own, unique God-shaped calling.

How would they RATE You?   >  1   2   3  4

How did you do? Might be interesting to ask them some time to give you their honest feedback.

Tomorrow’s BLOG POST:  Authenticity is first about being self-aware

© Terry Walling 2013