Authentic leaders avoid perfectionism2 min readReading Time: 2 minutesReading Time: 2 minutes
Leadership is often associated with power, strength and the illusion of perfection. But, the reality is far from it. Leaders, just like any other human being, have their own set of strengths and weaknesses. However, recent research has shown that authenticity, rather than an illusion of perfection, is what drives effective leadership. In this blog post, we will delve into how self-disclosure of weaknesses can actually foster perceptions of authenticity and lead to better outcomes for both leaders and their followers.
Harvard Business Review published an article discussing the importance of authenticity in leadership. The traditional belief that “Image is Everything” has been challenged by recent research, which has found that being genuine is more effective in leadership. When leaders act as their authentic selves, it leads to greater well-being among followers, increased trust in the organization, better performance, harder work, and better ethical decisions. However, many leaders struggle to come across as authentic as they often only present their strengths and hide their weaknesses. Self-disclosure of weaknesses can foster perceptions of authenticity and lead to benefits, as long as the weaknesses are relatable human foibles and not serious flaws.
The study in the article looked at how people perceive a Google executive based on his speech. The researchers recorded a video of the executive talking and then created two different versions. In one version, the executive talked about a weakness he had. In the other version, they left that part out. They then showed the videos to Google employees. They found that when the executive talked about their weakness, people thought they were more honest, trustworthy, and authentic. The results suggest that instead of trying to always present a perfect image, leaders should focus on being genuine and authentic. The findings suggest that leaders should shift their mindset from “Image is Everything” to “Authenticity is King”.