Be a leader, be true.

I finally watched the movie The Boss Baby (Yeah!) in my flight to Boston from Hong Kong,

which was actually quite thought-provoking. Are leaders born leaders? What characteristics made someone a leader? Can anyone become a leader?

According to Ms Margaret Andrews’s lecture to the group of 25 JC Scholars, on the first day of the Leadership & Innovation Programme, the answer is “everyone can be a leader”. We can develop ourselves as authentic leaders, and the key is that we have to be true to ourselves, and others. (Huh?) It is not as easy as it sounds.

The highlight in authentic leadership is self-awareness. We should have perfect ideas regarding which people and experiences made us the persons we are today, what our most deeply held values are, how we can be motivated intrinsically as well as extrinsically, and whom we can be vulnerable in front of.

Denial can be the greatest hurdle that leaders face in becoming self-aware. Do we not have weaknesses? Do we need no extrinsic motivations? Are we never vulnerable?

As John Donahoe, president of eBay Market- places and former worldwide managing director of Bain, stressed, being authentic means maintaining a sense of self no matter where you are. He warned, “The world can shape you if you let it. To have a sense of yourself as you live, you must make conscious choices. Sometimes the choices are really hard, and you make a lot of mistakes.”
(HBR: Discovering Your Authentic Leadership, by Bill George, Peter Sims, Andrew N. McLean, and Diana Mayer)

It is easier said then done. Margaret reminded the group that we can never arrived, we are always arriving. What’s important is that we keep learning — “What got you here, won’t get you there”.

Let’s have an egg tart and think about leadership again. Lessons for leadership are everywhere :P


We had a great time exploring the topic, as well as the beautiful Boston & Cambridge area!
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