Friday, April 25, 2014

Leading authentically: a new paradigm for leadership

Leadership has become quite the buzzword these days and with good reason: increasingly, it is being recognized that who we are and how we lead has a direct impact on the quality of our lives and the organizations that we collectively participate in.

Traditional notions of leadership have been mostly based on a command and control approach — keep emotions in check, mistakes/failure are not options, don't show your vulnerability, be strong and in control at all times, be directive, etc. For women, the pressure has been intense on them to fit that model, often at the expense of their true nature.

Lately, however, we are seeing a shift in what is required of leaders in these rapidly changing times. The shift, in my opinion, is happening not only at the physical level, but also at the level of our collective consciousness. It is no longer sustainable, nor as valued or recognized, to lead in a purely one-dimensional manner.

Let's explore notions of leadership from different perspectives. If we consider the "doing leader", there are a myriad of books that offer options on different leadership styles, such as servant leader, strategic leader, primal leader, thought leader, etc. This implies that we must "learn" to become leaders from the outside in, based on someone else's external definition of what is appropriate and required. It can become very stereotypical.

What if leadership does not begin with "doing" but with "being", from the inside out? What I mean is this: Think about considering leadership as the result of an authentic expression of yourself. When you open up for everyone to see who you are, by removing the masks and beliefs about who you should be, this can help you to become an authentic leader.

This way of engaging others involves the notion of CHOICE — choosing based on your past (acting naturally) OR choosing based on what is possible now (allowing yourself to reflect your true potential).

Instead of being led by past conditioning and external expectations, you are being guided by inner intelligence, wisdom and life that flow through your body — in other words, your authentic voice. By being open and available to all, you become more resourceful, creative, present in the moment, and able to lead authentically.

Annick Chenier
Leadership Consultant & Executive Coach
Y2 Consulting Psychologists

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