Positive actions evoke positive reactions. Sounds simple, right? That’s the essence of “Positive Leadership.”
But most leadership models assume that leadership is a trait within an individual. “Positive Leadership” asserts that leadership is something that happens between individuals – a social force.
The choice to channel social force in a direction that benefits a community or organization is “positive leadership.” This is a fundamental shift in thinking that can develop the ability to harness and channel the social force of leadership and to understand leadership at a richer level.
The “Positive Leadership” curriculum, integrated into each monthly Leadership Academy program day, is designed to promote and support Academy fellows in becoming positive, forward-moving, effective leaders, and to create alignment among people working in teams.
Asserting that leadership exists between people, and not within them, everyone has the capacity to increase their leadership potential and effectiveness. “Positive Leadership” recognizes seven core capacities — authenticity, purpose, reason, advocacy, community building, resilience, and gratitude. Developing and strengthening these leadership capacities leads to increasing leadership potential.
Future blogs will explore each of the seven capacities of “Positive Leadership.”
Positive Leadership: Capacity #1 Authenticity Summary:
For the authentic individual, the chosen course of action often comes from an internal map rather than one sanctioned by external sources. You identify what is true for you to guide outward behavior. This reflects the essence of Positive Leadership: positive actions evoke positive reactions from others.
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Authenticity is the essence that defines you. The most celebrated leaders live authentically as individuals first, using authenticity as a source of personal strength and then infusing it into their communities/organizations to make them stronger.
Authenticity is a potent aspect of Positive Leadership. We are compelled to trust people who know themselves. They command our respect because we know we are dealing with individuals who present themselves as they really are. We find them credible. We watch what they do and hear what they say. We realize they are not easy targets for manipulation, from us or others. We find ourselves listening to, trusting and even being led by them.
Authenticity enhances a leader’s social force in the following ways:
1. People have a visceral response to authenticity.
2. Credibility rises to the degree one is authentic.
3. Authentic leaders foster authenticity in others.
4. Authenticity increases your level of engagement.
5. Authenticity is a solo sport – ultimate accountability rests with you.
The four stages of authenticity
1. Self-Knowledge – looking inward and taking inventory of one’s self: the positive, the negative and the unknown. With a greater sense of self, a leader can know the areas where he or she will confidently, competently and consistently excel and the areas where help is needed.
2. Self-Acceptance – being aware of your strengths and weaknesses. A self-accepting person is comfortable in his or her skin. If a leader practices self-acceptance, the leader is more resistant to self-doubt and can increase individual social force.
3. Self-Development – becoming a better version of your true self. For example: accepting your creative side would be an important step on the road to authenticity. The next step would be to develop your creative talents. Your natural abilities are already the areas where you have interest, passion and standards for excellence.
4. Self-Assertion – the quality of advancing oneself. Alberti and Emmons describe self-assertion as “that which enables individuals to act in their own best interests, to stand up for themselves without undue anxiety, to express honest feelings comfortably, or to exercise their own rights without denying the rights of others.” A necessary component of Positive Leadership, self-assertion strikes the right balance of taking appropriate action without waiting for permission from someone else.