A favourite assignment on my masters two years ago was one that looked authentic leadership. It wasn’t because I have any love for the positive psychology movement and the cults it spawns, particularly through management gurus.
Instead, the assignment gave me an opportunity to critique it. There was one paper in particular that I read at the time that summed up the issue. Authentic leadership is designed to set the good of organisations above the personal good of the leader. Even if the leader is passing on bad news to their team, they are meant to find the positive side, as to not do so would be inauthentic to the organisation. Or some nonsense like that.
Of course, that approach has huge potential to damage leaders who, by being “authentic”, are actually being inauthentic about their true feelings. My advice to anyone seriously considering an authentic leadership programme in their organisation is simple – don’t fall for it. Transformational and transactional leadership approaches have all of the benefits with none of the personally damaging baggage.
That’s a long preamble to today’s missive, but I felt it necessary. Many people tell me I’m brave to be going through lymphoma treatment. Some days I do feel very positive, but it’s not really bravery. It would be inauthentic for me to believe that I’m brave, as the alternative to treatment is far worse.
So I’m not going to pretend that I didn’t have a tough day yesterday. I did. And today frightens twenty shades of crap out of me. I hope you can understand. There will be light at the end of the tunnel, I will get out of the hole … or whatever metaphor you feel comfortable with. But today, I just want to put it on record that it would be inauthentic for me to say everything will *definitely* be fine. It probably will be, but I simply need to acknowledge that realism, rather than fake authenticity, is more important to me right now.
Eeyore has no such problems. He’s found my blood pressure monitor and made a few adjustments to it. His stuffing pressure is just fine he tells me, but he can’t find his pulse. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that he doesn’t have one. I told him to look on the bright side instead. But that’s just me, being authentic 🙂