The power in being personally authentic


Here is the introduction to a paper I wrote a few years ago. At the end of the blog, you will find a link to the full paper.

Authenticity is the degree to which one is true to one’s own values and character, despite external pressures. Congruence is the alignment between the ideal self (how we would like to be) and the actual self (how we are.)

Authenticity and congruence are extremely attractive and compelling human qualities. The opposite qualities are very disconcerting. We can see, or instinctively feel, when someone is what he or she appears to be, and we can often sense strongly when someone is not what he or she appears to be.

We have all had the experience of hearing someone say words that are obviously not what they mean. “How lovely to see you,” are the words we hear when the tone of voice and the face reveal something more like, “you are the last person I wanted to see right now.” Moments such as these are the little experiences of incongruence that we find fairly frequently in the world. There are more dramatic examples too. When we hear that a pillar of the community has been behaving to a standard well below our expectations, or worse, below the standards they have publicly demanded of others — the in-authenticity provokes a public outrage (and in extreme situations leads to prison!)

In management and leadership, authentic and congruent people find it much easier to foster engagement. They find it easier to influence others, inspire change and motivate teams. People are attracted to those with integrity. They are repelled by the incongruent.

The 7 Elements (link to full paper)

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