The Real Deal
Reality TV consumes much of television programming. We seem to have gotten tired of the fake or fictional for the authentic even if it reminds us of all that is wrong with life. Authenticity is powerful. When we see real life whether inspirational or discouraging we are changed. Over the years I have seen and experienced how authenticity is a powerful leadership tool.&nb
Reality TV consumes much of television programming. We seem to have gotten tired of the fake or fictional for the authentic even if it reminds us of all that is wrong with life. Authenticity is powerful. When we see real life whether inspirational or discouraging we are changed. Over the years I have seen and experienced how authenticity is a powerful leadership tool. Most people especially younger generations want to know that their leaders are the real deal. They are turned off by the use of image or perception and will quickly abandon that type of leadership. So what does authentic leadership look like?
- Authentic leaders share their struggles. Whether struggles are past or present, authenticity requires openness and honesty. Pastors who are able to offer a glimpse of their inner self to their congregation enhance the opportunity for spiritual growth within their people and themselves. Tell stories about how God is changing you but remember to never abuse your vulnerability. It can be a fragile balance to know how much to share so be careful.
- Authentic leaders say “I am sorry”. Those are the most powerful words in the English language. When we admit our failures to those whom we have hurt we open up our leadership to new opportunities. When we choose to self protect and convince ourselves that strong leaders never acknowledge failures we miss out on powerful opportunities to practice redemptive relationships. God does bigger things through us through our remorse and openness than he will ever do through our resolve. Someone told me to never jump back over the fence even if you realized your decision was wrong. It sounded like a strong leadership principle but is contrary to the way God works. Remember, God gives grace to the humble but opposes the proud.
- Authentic leaders serve everyone. Have you ever met those high powered leaders who go out of their way to reach out to those above them? Their interests are served by networking and connecting with the people who have more power and position then they have themselves. Did you notice that Jesus never did that? He was constantly serving people who could do nothing for him. Who do you spend time with? A friend who was also a mentor once told me to never view people as assets or liabilities because people will see right through it and God will never honor it. He told me to serve employees and volunteers who worked under me since this reflected the shepherding leadership that Jesus modeled.
- Authentic leaders never lose sight of their true leader. We can’t be real with others until we are real with God. God does not need our vulnerability to discover the struggles of our heart. He knows it all already. Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved him. Peter said yes three times. God desires those public acknowledgments of our willingness to surrender our lives to His leadership. When others see this they will be encouraged to follow Jesus. That’s the heart of discipleship. Modeling what it means to follow Jesus is a powerful leadership act. The best leaders were first great Christ followers.
- Authentic leaders never fear trusting people. If you have been vulnerable and been burned you know how much it hurts. After those experiences we are either intentional about continuing to trust or withdraw to a place where people are kept at arm’s length. People will fail us and when they do we can’t fear them. They failed Jesus and he embraced them. Expect relational disappointment but don’t stop being authentic.
Try authenticity, people will be drawn to it; you won’t regret it and God will use it.