This week marks the two-year anniversary of the launch of my book, “The Power of Genuine Leadership: How Authentic Leaders Earn Trust.”
The journey to create “The Power of Genuine Leadership” began long ago. The inspiration for this book first came at an early age when hearing the descriptive phrase of ‘being comfortable in one’s own skin.’ What did ‘being comfortable in one’s own skin’ mean? It was not until I became familiar with the connected concepts of ‘trust’ and ‘authenticity’ through my doctoral studies that I was able to truly begin to unpack this seemingly simple phrase to describe a powerful trait for leaders. And thus, the journey to create this book officially began.
The words ‘trust’ and ‘authenticity’ have become extremely popular, particularly over the last few years. But what do these words really mean? How are they connected? More importantly, how can leaders navigate the connection and dependencies of these two concepts? These questions were central to my doctoral research and thereby to “The Power of Genuine Leadership.”
“The Power of Genuine Leadership” illustrates through story essential elements to become an authentic, trustworthy leader. There are several important insights contained within the book, derived from my doctoral research, real-life stories, and experiences from helping to develop leaders at every level for two Fortune 150 global corporations. Some of these insights include:
- Authenticity without guidelines is irresponsible;
- Authenticity without empathy is careless; and
- Humility is much more than a willingness to be vulnerable.
However, perhaps the most significant insight within ‘The Power of Genuine Leadership’ is the power of behavioral consistency to create more effective leaders, and how empathy and respect are essential yet historically under-appreciated drivers of trust. This is a new contribution and emphasis to our understanding of leadership.
As I wrote “The Power of Genuine Leadership,” I wanted the book to be full of easily digestible, valuable insights with practical application for readers. Within the book, I detail my Authenticity Trust Model (ATM), which explores three critical components of becoming an authentic trusted leader: communication, coaching, and respect. Each of these critical components have enablers that – through real life scenarios and stories – come to life and encourage leaders to examine the consistency of their approach. Moreover, readers are also able to assess their own leadership strengths and development areas using the Authenticity Trust Assessment (ATA) included in the book. By reading and thinking through the core ideas within this book, leaders tend to reflect on their leadership style and apply action immediately within their leadership journeys.
Leadership is a discipline that can carry meaningful, life-changing experiences for both leaders and followers. My hope when writing this book – and now – is that the practical insights within “The Power of Genuine Leadership” can reframe what to prioritize as a leader and minimize distractions to focus on the critical few.
With that in mind, as I reflect on this two-year anniversary of the launch of “The Power of Genuine Leadership,” three thoughts come to mind: gratefulness, appreciation, and concern.
First, I am grateful for the Logos Institute for Crisis Management and Executive Leadership for their support, encouragement, and friendship through the process of creating this book. I could not have asked for a better partner, editor, and publisher. And I want to congratulate Logos on their 20th anniversary. I am equally grateful for the book endorsement and acknowledgment from several of my well-respected colleagues, especially Dr. Ken Blanchard, who continues to be a valued mentor.
Second, I am appreciative and struck by a steady stream of reinforcing comments from readers of the book. Descriptive words like “practical,” “digestible,” “thoughtful,” and “insightful,” continue to appear in reviews and conversations regarding the book. These comments reinforce my initial purpose, which was to provide a simple and focused framework for leaders to reference in their quest to build strong, trusting relationships and to be the kind of leader others want to follow. We must first be curious learners to become better leaders. It is a continuous journey to improvement.
Third, my concern is that we, as leadership development professionals, do not over complicate leadership and coaching tools. Albert Einstein was once said, “If you can’t explain it simply…. you don’t understand it well enough.” Einstein’s words provide important guidance for all of us. Moreover, there is no lack of advice, models, and self-proclaimed experts saturating social media with seemingly obvious guidance. This constant influx of information can be overwhelming. In contrast, I suggest that leadership development professionals lead with questions that encourage deep reflection and thought for leaders to ponder. This will encourage leaders to consider a simple framework that is easy to reference and that encompasses their most important leadership values; maintain consistency in their approach; and strive to stay curious and improve their personal journey every day.
Stay authentic and curious.
“The Power of Genuine Leadership: How Authentic Leaders Earn Trust” by Patrick Donahue PhD is the third title in the Logos Institute Best Practices Series published by the Logos Institute for Crisis Management and Executive Leadership Press. Learn more about “The Power of Genuine Leadership” and get your copy here.
This reflective piece is part of our 20th anniversary celebration. Throughout this anniversary year, we will be sharing a series of reflections on the shifts and trends we have been following in business and in the world over the past twenty years, as well as advice to leaders and organizations navigating through the challenges we see today.