Part 1: An Outstanding Authentic Leader
Lord of the Rings example of a leader #2 is Aragon, my second favorite character from the series (see my post that includes Gandalf from a few weeks ago). Aragorn has a strong sense of duty and leads the Fellowship across Middle Earth to bring the fight to Sauron. Aragorn does maintain a sense of mysteriousness, but he is as open as he knows how to be with the Fellowship and admits when he’s not sure what to do. I think it is easiest to use fictional characters for examples of this type of leadership because it is based so much upon motivation, and it is impossible to ever know what a real person’s motivation really is. With fictional characters, however — especially “hero” tropes like Aragorn — the story is about their motivations and you get far more insight into who they actually are than you do from observing someone in the real world.
(Sorry again for being a huge nerd)
PART 2: Results of Authentic Leadership Questionnaire
Internalized Moral Perspective: 16
Balanced Processing: 15
Relational Transparency: 13
PART 3: Questions
a. Do you agree or disagree with the results? Why?
I do agree that my highest traits are probably internalized moral perspective and balanced processing, because both of them are self-regulatory. Having a high internalized moral perspective means that my values and beliefs are less susceptible to outside pressure than those with low internalized moral perspective (Tobias 2011). I tend to agree with that, because I know what I believe and while I am open to the thoughts and opinions of others (as exhibited by my high-ish balanced processing score) I cannot be swayed from my beliefs by pressure alone. I also agree that my self-awareness and relational transparency could use improvement; I think this has been illustrated in the results of my past leadership questionnaires, as well.
b. How does the knowledge of authentic leadership affect your definition of leadership, if at all?
According to Kruse (2013), authentic leadership occurs when leaders are self-aware, are results-driven, have “heart,” and focus on long-term strategy. In order to reflect this in my definition, I need to make the following (bolded) changes.
Leadership is when a person or group has the knowledge, skills, drive, and vision to successfully take initiative, whether they choose to or have it thrust upon them, to inspire each follower to develop their skills, grow, and work with the group to achieve a common goal.
I feel as if these two nouns summarize the missing components of authentic leadership in my definition and kind of encompass the rest of the elements of this particular model.
c. How does the knowledge of authentic leadership affect how you see yourself as a leader, if at all?
It has helped me see that I know that I am authentic, I may not come off that way to those following me. Without better relational transparency, I will probably keep coming off as closed and unapproachable. I don’t think that means my leadership is less valid or bad, but it may make my followers less likely to trust in me and more skeptical of my values and motivations. Bettering my self-awareness will help me better my relational transparency, because I will be able to see how my actions might be perceived by my followers and make better choices in that regard.
d. What authentic leadership characteristics do you need to display in order to be a better leader?
In order to be a more authentic leader, I need to work on exuding an air of openness or “relational transparency” (Burke and Cooper 2006). I believe I possess the motivation and drive and I’m on my way to possessing the self-awareness, but as a relatively shy person I think I often come across as closed off. I can remedy this by connecting on a more personal level with my followers and sharing more of my personality rather than a professional persona.