Leadership Thinking The Art of Being Authentic (Part 4 People)

Make Change Happen Today

When you are in a crowd and you stand out from the crowd, it’s usually because you are being carried on the shoulders of others”
Archbishop Desmond Tutu

This is part 4 People in my series of being an Leadership Thinking & The Art of Being Authentic!


Leadership thinking and the art of being authentic involves ‘people’ whom I prefer to refer to as your ‘tribe’. I use the word tribe because according to definition: it encompasses a social division consisting of family, friends, community linked by social, economic, religion or blood ties with a common culture similar values or interests. This translates into anyone you impact, mobilise and influence.

Humans are ‘tribal’ we are ‘pack’ animals. We just function better when we are inside groups rather than outside.
According to Judith  E.Glaser the author of “Conversation Intelligence’ there is no switch we can turn off and stop wanting to be included, appreciated and to have a status in our tribe it impacts our mental well-being!
For example: when we communicate with others and the communication feels ‘good’ this is when we have a sense of cooperation, fairness and open expression. Such feelings tend to buffer against stress and produce pleasure. On the other hand if our communication causes us to ‘feel sad, fearful, and anxious, we experience a fight or flight response and guess what? Our stress hormone increases and can linger in the body for days, months or years (not good).


Only, if you can be open to co-creating partnerships, where members of your tribe are on the same or similar wavelengths as you. If not negative influence can result in diminished strength.
So how do we navigate the complexities of relationships whilst keeping our vision clear, focused and true?
Firstly, by mastering the Art of Being Authentic (see my previous blogs on the subject ) it involves being consciously aware of your ‘state’ , mind and emotions, check in and ask yourself
What impact are my words having on others? What body language am I communicating?
This links nicely with the essential premise of emotional intelligence which requires the effective awareness, control, management of your own emotions, behaviours, and intentions whilst honouring those of others appreciating their capabilities and knowing that everyone has value.


Bringing in the energies of the tribe to accomplish the vision and goals requires decision making, this is a process. Power is often used in one way or another directing the energies of others to action.
Leadership thinking is a special form of power according to Nannerl O Keohane,’ special’ because the linkage of power to leadership is intimate and complex. This can be a dilemma when power is abused.
Effective leaders need members of the tribe to share the vision and support the leaders in pursuing them

“A leader. . .is like a shepherd. He stays behind the flock, letting the most nimble go out ahead, whereupon the others follow, not realizing that all along they are being directed from behind.”

― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom 

Know your Presence and align your vision which is borne out of your Purpose, your values, your life stories beliefs and convictions. Passion mobilizes energies to pursue your purpose, your interaction with your People ‘your tribe’ . How you tie these strands together will affect the outcome.
Our final P in this series is PERMISSION  ‘”To thine own self be true,” says Polonius in Hamlet.  the subject of my next blog

Let’s talk if this makes sense to you, feedback and comments are welcomed.

Persistent Passion

Aligning Purpose with Passion

As mention in my last blog alignment  brings about the experience. Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi refers to as ‘flow’ . In those moments, you’re so caught up in an activity that time somehow seems to be altered, you’re attention is fully focused without you’re having to work at it. You’re deeply aware, with out being self conscious, you’re stretched and challenged, but without a sense of stress or worry. When this happens something happens in our spirit as we connect with a reality beyond ourselves. This type of activity is conceptualised as a consequence of ‘passion’

Passionate Leaders

Not all activities are as fulfilling and in flow, only those activities that are deemed or perceived as particularly important, enjoyable and develops into a self defining activity. These activities become passionate activities. These activities are defined important enough to invest significant time and energy. Meaningful and resonant with how leaders see themselves, creating a special bond between the ‘self’ and the activity. This activity becomes the passion for the leader. It has to be meaningful and a part of the leaders identity for it to be a passion, for example, passion becomes a part of ‘who’ they are, a part of their life,  even becoming integral in conversations with friends and family.
Passionate leaders engage in the pursuit of this achievement on a regular basis, not occasionally! There has been alot of philosophical thinking around passion. One contribution is its duality.

A Daily Dose of Passion

Passion can be good for you, for example when leaders freely engage in the activity without any contingencies attached, accepting that the activity is a part of them and who they are. This is called Harmonious passion. Harmonious passion produces a motivational force to engage in the activity willingly, with control and with a personal endorsement, openness and wellbeing. Research demonstrates regularly engaging in passionate activities provide recurrent doses of happiness.

In contrast a passion, where leaders are engaged in the activity because of intra or inter personal pressures, attach to the activity the desire for social acceptance or they develop a sense of uncontrollable excitement when engaged in  the activity, an example; a gambling addiction.

Here the leader is not completely in control of the activity since it is not considered properly integrated into the leaders identity, this  results in an uncontrollable urge to engage in the activity. Here passion controls the leader and is associated with higher levels of burnout we call this Obsessive passion.

Staying Power!

Entrepreneurs, business owners and leaders that have harmonious passion tend to be more persistent, have higher levels of enthusiasm and experience a decrease in family versus work conflict and experience high levels of work satisfaction. This determined persistence or passion ensures success, prevents drifting in life and creates confidence in others, as everyone believes in a determined leader, they believe in what the leader sets out to do. They believe in a leader who keeps his compass pointing to his Northern star. This persistent of purpose is the staying power that is necessary to be successful.

Here is a really good example of determined persistence or harmonious passion:

J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books, is currently the second-richest female entertainer on the planet, behind Oprah. However, when Rowling wrote the first Harry Potter book in 1995, it was rejected by twelve different publishers. Even Bloomsbury, the small publishing house that finally purchased Rowling’s manuscript, told the author to “get a day job.”

At the time when Rowling was writing the original Harry Potter book, her life was a self-described mess. She was going through a divorce and living in a tiny flat with her daughter. Rowling was surviving on government subsidies, and her mother had just passed away from multiple sclerosis. J.K. turned these negatives into a positive by devoting most of her free time to the Harry Potter series. She also drew from her bad personal experiences when writing. The result is a brand name currently worth nearly $15 billion.

Her opportunity finally came  when the editor at Bloomsbury Publishing company sat down to read the manuscript. And so did the editor’s 8 year-old daughter. The little girl loved the opening chapters, and begged to read the whole thing. This made the publisher agree to publish Rowling’s novel.  We all need an opportunity, often from unexpected places and people. In JK Rowling situation the editors 8 year old daughter !

JK Rowlings probably felt she had nothing more to lose. What remained was to be true to the ‘self’ and to hold on to her core values and her belief that she was without any doubt  a great author.  Her insight and knowledge of those core values, belief and determined persistence  created a self-awareness , a prerequisite for authenticity.

By simply becoming more  self-aware authentic, leaders  construct conditions which create high trust, where teams  are supported to build on their strengths. By providing a more positive environment, authentic leaders improve the performance and productivity of their business and company over time. The more authentic leaders become, the more the business performance improves.

“You stand out in the crowd only because you have these many, people carrying you on their shoulders.”

Desmond Tutu

This brings me onto the subject of my next blog ‘People’

If this makes sense to you book here and let’s talk !

Why Being an Authentic Leaders Will Grow Your Business part 2


“Try not to be a man of success, try to be a man of value”
Albert Einstein.


Your ability to be aware of your presence in any situation or circumstances is inextricably tied to your ability to ‘simply be’. To be free to focus totally on what is going on within you, in front of you and around you, an acceptance of your space, being aware of an ending of one thing and a beginning of the next.
‘Presence’ begins with the discovery of your individual purpose, not the purpose of your business, company or organisation, but your individual purpose.

Finding Your Purpose

Finding your purpose can prove to be challenging, perhaps it evolves as we grow through each of our life phases. Not only is purpose scaled by the phases of our lives but also by our present roles responsibilities and maturity.
However ‘purpose’ is only realised through getting to know the authentic self .Not accepting the conscious reality that is presented, but rather being aware of the unconscious building blocks that have contributed to our experiences. Experiences that have caused deep reflection forcing the questions of who am I? What do I stand for? Why do I what I do, and for what purpose?

The ability to answer these questions requires us to examine our values. By reflecting on our stories our narrative, our true values emerges from the beliefs and convictions that had been tested under pressure, within these narratives. It is here we learnt what was truly important from our experiences. It is here that we emerge stronger and surer of our purpose. Such stories are a reliable indicator and predictor of our ability to find meaning in such events positive or negative.

Richard Leider, founder of the Purpose Project, author and a top executive coach. With over 30 years of researching ‘purpose’ believes to find purpose is misleading because it’s not something you go out to “get” but rather something we need to turn within and “unlock” and its power determined by its maturity and its inner growth over time.

Where is the Key to Unlock Purpose? (Richard Leider)

Well here are clues to unlocking ‘purpose’, ask yourself the following questions
• Why do I get up in the morning?
• What do I truly love to do?
• What do I feel passionate about & are important to my way of being?

What is Purpose?

According to the Merriam Webster dictionary : Purpose, is the reason why something is done or used : the aim or intention of something. The feeling of being determined to achieve something. .

Why Do We Need a Sense PURPOSE?

Without it we become more vulnerable to anxiety, depression and more susceptible to addictive behaviour and habits. The powerful positive affect of having a strong sense of purpose means engagement with working towards our purpose, less likely to experience unease because our mind and energies are immersed in achieving the purpose rather than being occupied with ‘mind chatter” which often  triggers negative thoughts and feelings. Aligning ourselves to our purpose often makes us less self centered, allows us to feel a part of something bigger and external to ourselves making us focus less on our own worries and anxieties.

This alignment can bring about the experience Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi refers to as being in ‘flow’ a powerful source of wellbeing that causes us to feel happy!
Discovery of your individual purpose brings with it a self awareness, a self regulation hence an existential ‘presence’ in the here and now.  Take your first steps of action  Just  click below for a special introductory offer.

Making Change Happen Today with Coaching2Transform

Making Change Happen Today with Coaching2Transform

An investment in time and energy, to pursue a purpose will require mobilization’ this catalyst is called ‘passion’ the subject of my next blog

Why Being An Authentic Leader Will Grow Your Business


How many of you are able hands on heart are able to deal with the crisis, conflict and challenges your business or organisations presents with confidence, optimism and resilience while still  being able to keep your team motivated & aligned to the company vision and purpose?

It is an incredibly difficult balancing act which exists on a continuum of  ‘self-care’ and well-being  to  ‘burnout’  and maladaptive behaviour which is unpleasant and damaging.

More damaging though is we as leaders do not know ourselves!  Fewer than 20% of us have a strong sense of purpose, as a result we limit our aspirations and often we fail to achieve our most ambitious, professional and personal goals.

Failure to authenticity reflects in a moral deterioration ,  reduced sense of ownership , responsibility and deliberate dis-association from business or organisation. This failure can cause many of us emulate the behaviour and practices of others because of this uncertainty of not owning one’s personal experience and acting in accord with one’s core values, needs and preferences. Instead, we follow symbols society offers in the external world, money, fame, power and status. This pattern of behaviour may be useful as well as destructive  damaging and often unsustainable. If leaders feel trapped in such behaviour the situation needs to be changed.

Knowing thy self requires the courage, honesty and vulnerability to open up and examine experiences, narratives and stories that make up life experiences that have been stored in the memory of self knowledge.

This blog is going to be a series  that will explain WHY? Knowing yourself and being ‘authentic ‘ will grow your business and improve your company productivity and performance.

So What is an Authentic Leader?

The concept of authencity has its roots in Greek philosophy.  Throughout history the idea of authenticity has been held in high esteem:

“Know thyself and to thine own self be true”  (Shakespeare )

Modern day philosophers have focused attention on people who are in ‘tune’ with their basic nature clearly and accurately see themselves and their lives, unencumbered by others expectations for them. Such self-actualised leaders often make more sound personal choices, decisions and judgement.

The belief was self knowledge is the highest form of knowledge, all encompassing surpassing all other forms of knowledge and it is regarded as timeless!

So what is authenticity? And how do you get it?

If you Google authentic leadership you get over 2,000,000 results! It appears to be the new buzzword in leadership. I believe that authenticity begins with honouring the’ self’ to speak and act from our innermost convictions and feelings. That is according to Dr Nathaniel Branden (renowned psychotherapist) to preserve an attitude of self acceptance which means to accept what we are without any pretence about the truth of our own being. It poses the question

“ Shall I honour or betray the ‘self’?”

“ Do  I belong to myself or others?”

To be true to the self and to hold core values,  a leader must first have an insight and knowledge of those core values. This self-awareness is a prerequisite for authenticity.

By simply becoming more  self-aware authentic, leaders  construct conditions which  create high trust, where teams  are supported to build on their strengths. By providing a more positive environment, leaders are able to broaden their thinking and add value and a sense of ‘what is right’ to their decisions , improve the performance and productivity of their business and company over time. The more authentic leaders become the more the business performance improves.

When leaders, solo entrepreneurs, business owners are better equipped to withstand challenges faced by new ventures, and are still able to have a positive impact on team members. They are then able to realise the full potential of their vision. This is essential for the survival and growth of a business or company.

Nathaniel Branden quotes  “ In order to honour the ‘self’ is to be willing to think independently, to have the courage of your own perceptions and judgement. To know what we think, feel, need, can be accepted as the right to experience such feelings. The opposite to this attitude is denial, disowning, and repression “

How Can We Help You Make Change Happen?

My coaching practice combines the importance of ‘thinking’ with ‘self awareness’ we love  Nancy Kilne quote

“The quality of everything we do depends on the quality of the thinking we do first”

Our sessions are an invitation for leaders to explore their internal and emotional landscape to reveal how much they really know about themselves. Book here and lets see whether we have what you need to start your journey to authenticity.

The combination of thinking and self-awareness is what Coaching2transform identifies as Leadership Thinking the bringing together an existential awareness to the here and now combined with the leader’s presence within it.

Your Presence begins with the discovery of your individual purpose.

Making Change Happen Today with Coaching2Transform

Making Change Happen Today with Coaching2Transform

Why this matters is the topic of my next blog