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The 12 Facets of Authentic Leadership: A Look Ahead to 2016

A new year brings new things into focus for me. Over the past few years I have felt my next book brewing inside me, getting ready to pop. The writing process I use collects various concepts together, then I see where they want to collect, and then begin to put things into prospective chapters as the initial draft takes shape. As I did that, what became evident is that my life and leadership journey have weaved through twelve distinct phases /stages, and I can look at each one individually or as a collective. My publicist, Lisa, suggested I use this blog as a starter for this new blossoming incarnation, and since there are twelve months in a year, it makes so much sense to take each facet and spend more time becoming intimately familiar over each upcoming month in 2016.

I invite you to look at these twelve as doorways into the same house. You are the house, as both a person and as a leader. These twelve doors open into rooms that make up who you are, are aspects of you, and what you have to offer. When our doors are open, and are openly connected and expressed, your authentic self, with your own unique authentic leadership style, is revealed. Life is always more rich, full, joyful and meaningful when we come to it as our authentic self. As an authentic leader you are much more effective in helping others realize who they are, are adept at creating safe spaces where trust gets built, and foster cultures of highly aligned and engaged human beings working toward outcomes from which all stakeholders can benefit.

  1. Personal Perception. Self-awareness is the cornerstone to living consciously, intentionally, authentically. How do we wake up, access, assess, and get real with ourselves first? How can we move beyond the bounds of ego-centric living and see the deeper layers of who we are?
  2. Presence. How do we stay more in the present moment, more mindful, and not allow our thoughts and emotions to hijack us back into the past we can’t change, or thrust us into the future that hasn’t happened yet?
  3. Past Presumptions. Our beliefs, fears, shadow drive so much of our life. Have we taken time to self-reflect on the current validity and truth of what has been programmed into us from past experience in the light of our current levels of maturity, awareness and reality?
  4. Principles. Values, virtues drive our motivations, our character and our behaviors. Are you aware of your core values, which virtues you adhere to, and how you express them in your daily life? Does your team, organization have defined and live by their core values?
  5. Passion. Most people think passion is something we do to get enjoyment. Consider for a moment that you, your whole being, when fully alive and expressed as your authentic self, is passion manifest. What would life be like if you felt more alive, connected and fulfilled?
  6. Purpose. Do you have a sense of what your life has been and is all about? Do you feel compelled to follow a certain way? Is a vocation calling you? Life lived with purpose, on purpose, offers infinite levels of joy, fulfilment, connection and prosperity.
  7. Perspective. When we lift our sights above the moment-to-moment, day-by-day reactivity, quiet our thoughts, and set new desires and intentions for life lived better, a new vision develops. When we can see more clearly and in ways that others obtain great benefit too, our authentic leadership has a healthy compass by which to engage others and allows for deeper, more effective and prosperous activity.
  8. People. When we expand our own levels of consciousness about ourselves, we can effectively translate that wisdom into how we see, interact and lead others. Understanding human nature is a huge component to being an authentic leader. Knowing what makes people tick, how they can communicate and relate to each other in more effective ways is such a powerful way to express how much you care.
  9. Process. Life is all about systems interacting with each other. Patterns of thought, mechanics of motion, flow of energy-things-people, rules and regulations and more compose the almost infinite systems that run our lives. As we enhance our abilities to see beyond what’s right in front of us, when we can get ‘above the trees’ so to speak and see how people and systems intertwine, we can begin to conceive new alternatives that are more healthy, productive and sustainable.
  10. Power. When more than one of us comes together within atmospheres of trust, safety, caring and connection, people are given the opportunity for their own personal and professional growth and expansion. As your people connect to their own unique aspects of authenticity, they will be so much more effective at problem-solving and conflict-resolution, working collaboratively and meeting/exceeding expectations.
  11. Prosperity & Proliferation. As authentic leaders, how can we help all our stakeholders benefit from their interaction with us, our team, and our organizations? How can we help spread the healthy, sustainable aspects of doing business ‘for good’ while enjoying the fruits of such?
  12. Peace. People everywhere share the same desires: to live life in peace, contentment, and well-being, with happiness, joy and connection with others. Authentic leaders know this and keep these outcomes top-of-mind as they interact with people and make decisions that affect stakeholders.

I hope we can all share insights, wisdom and stories around these facets of being an authentic person and an authentic leader as 2016 unfolds. Look for more deeper-dives into each facet as 2016 unfolds. As always, your thoughts, comments and experiences are welcome!

Here’s to making 2016 a year of meaning, well-being, growth and authenticity!

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