Prof Sattar Bawany
Discovering Your Authentic Leadership
It continues to surprise us at CEE Global through our Executive Coaching engagements how many leaders attempt to be one way at work, while their "true" personality emerges outside of work. It is surprising when these same leaders seem shocked or confused when their employees don´t trust them, don´t like them, and can´t really wait to work elsewhere.
Authenticity has been explored throughout history, from Greek philosophers to the work of Shakespeare ("To thy own self be true." – Polonius, Hamlet). Authentic leadership has been explored sporadically as part of modern management science, but found its highest levels of acceptance since Bill George´s 2003 book, Authentic Leadership.
Life is a circle, easily identified by anyone who gives it some thought. It is a process, a course of systematic actions followed time and again by all individuals on Earth. Here, I am not talking about the process of birth, adolescence, teenage, and so on, but rather other practices that are followed lifelong. For instance, eating – something we do all our life. Then there is sleeping; heard of a human who does not sleep? I think not.
But there are other processes we do not think of. For example, learning. Learning is a practice one follows all their life. Learning to walk, to talk, how to behave, conduct business, and so on. What one learns changes in each stage of life, but the need to learn stays constant. And it is followed closely by personal growth, for when one learns, one grows.
But why the need to grow? I mean, I´ve learnt the basic skills in life; I know to walk, talk, eat, and sleep. Isn´t that all one needs? Barely. One needs to grow to stay relevant. Imagine. You are a teacher, but your skills haven´t evolved to apply the new teaching techniques in your classroom. Would you be rated as the most efficient teacher? I think not. And the same rule applies to all professionals. Even House Wives! If they do not grow, how will they keep up with their children? And you have to keep up to be idolized and respected.
Important "Life and Work" Lessons from Kids
The most beautiful, challenging, yet thrilling dimension of my training career comes from my interaction with children. They are smart, creative, simple and honest. These four attributes are, however, quite rare in most modern workplaces. Although we do invest a lot in making our employees creative, the environment we provide is simply contradictory. My belief is that all human beings are born creative, and later are misguided by experience, education and environment. This gets confirmed when I talk to these little wonders!