REAL: (of a substance or thing) not imitation or artificial; genuine. “the earring was presumably real gold.” Synonyms: genuine, authentic, bona fide.
“Forget about being impressive and commit to being real. Because being real is impressive!” Jonathan Harnisch, Jonathan Harnisch: An Alibiography
Being real, or authentic, is something many people struggle with. I am not talking about teenagers, but rather adults. Whether in the business world, social world, or another realm, many people find it difficult to be authentic (or be real). The reasons, the causes for that inauthenticity are for another day. For now, I want to offer something else.
Below you will find five statements about what a “real” leader is. These may not be new to you, so let them serve as reminders in your journey of becoming a better leader. (A worthy goal for all regardless of who they are.) **NOTE: The pronoun “he” will be used in the generic sense, referring to both male and female.
DO YOU DARE TO BE REAL? The 5 “REAL” Statements:
*A real leader is someone who accepts himself. He accepts the fact that he is a leader. If he influences people, then he is a leader. Acceptance of this fact is important to better your role in life.
*A real leader is someone who understands himself. Many people really don’t understand who they are and the roles they play in the lives around them whether it be at work, home, church, etc. A real leader needs to understand that changes are going on in his life and the world around him.
*A real leader is someone who lives with a serious purpose in mind. He should not simply enjoy life (something we should all do) in his adult years, but with that he must also employ them. This is the time to demonstrate the right leadership characteristics and good habits so that young leaders can learn from him.
*A real leader is someone who knows that he cannot do the job alone. He needs friends, family, co-workers, and yes – for a person of faith – God, if he is going to make a success of his leadership. He needs to follow the best possible examples (mentors), listen to the best possible advice and aim for the best possible goals.
*A real leader is someone who knows the difference between being “real” and being artificial. An artificial leader is someone who thinks they are a leader, but in reality, they are not. An artificial leader is being followed by people who “have to” follow him, not because they want to. Consistent authentic leadership grows, or creates, a trusting relationship with colleagues, which is necessary for authentic “followership.”
WRAP – UP
Oscar Wilde once said “to be natural is such a very difficult pose to keep up.” I would disagree with him. I believe being “artificial” is more difficult then being “real.”
I have heard it said many times over the years that what you are going to be, you are now becoming. While this is generally applied to a young audience (teens through young adults), it can be very applicable to adults (30’s on up). We are always changing. But what I am going to be tomorrow depends on what I do today. So, the question needs to be asked: Do you want to be a real, authentic leader? Do you want to be a better “real” leader? If so, what are you doing about it now?
Would you add to the list of 5? I welcome your comments.