Being Authentic: The Courage to Be Yourself

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The following is a short book preview contributed by the Ohio State University Leadership Center.

Unusually Excellent: The Necessary Nine Skills Required for The Practice of Great Leadership 
John Hamm, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass (2011)

Being authentic – knowing who you really are, and holding true to yourself in the most difficult moments – is “ground zero” of leadership credibility. It all starts here, like taking your grip on a golf club or tennis racquet – you must get step #1 right to ensure your chances of success. To create the trusted connections you need to lead with real influence, you must first pass the authenticity test of your followers. It sounds simple, but isn’t; it takes courage, and there are absolutely no tricky plays or shortcuts.

I don’t have to tell you that authenticity is more complicated than simply “being yourself.”  For a very few people, this happens without tremendous effort, and they never think twice about it. But for most leaders the complexity of their responsibilities creates the occasional conflict that they must confront within themselves. These are situations that test our ability to stay true to our core values in the face of tremendous temptation to take the easy way out (Hamm, 2011, p.3).

Unusually Excellent is available from the OSU Leadership Center.

Click here to borrow this resource or any other resource from the OSU Leadership Center Lending Library. Once you are on the Lending Library web page, click on the Spectrum icon.

Learn how the Ohio State University Leadership Center is inspiring others to take a leadership role that empowers the world at the OSU Leadership Center website.

Jim Canterucci

I don't know everything. But I want to. The focus of our firm, Transition Management Advisors, is to develop leadership capabilities to create a championship culture, generate innovation, and successfully lead the resulting changes.

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On April 13, 2015
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