Authentic Leadership

Lori Fitterling LI863
Have you ever said that a
person is a born leader? Have
you ever noticed how some
people seem to be more
authentic about themselves
than others? Is it instinct, an
in born personality trait, or is
authentic leadership learned?
What special qualities do
authentic leaders possess?
How come there are so few?
How is authentic leadership
recognized? Can one really
become an authentic leader?
Can we assume that authentic
leadership is the best type of
leadership for all situations
and can we find authentic
leaders in the field of library
These are some of the
questions that went through
my mind as I read about
leadership from the Daniel
Goleman text, Primal
Leadership: Learning to Lead
with Emotional Intelligence
(2002). Most of the material
for this presentation is from
this text. I had time to
consider authentic leadership
when I visited the west coast
this past month with my
It is one thing
to recognize
and another
to become
According to Goleman, people with high emotional intelligence
are the most effective leaders. Developing emotional
intelligence begins with an understanding of four leadership
competencies: Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Social
Awareness, and Relationship Management.
Let’s begin by:
 Defining authentic leadership
 Demonstrating authentic leadership
 Discussing leadership competencies
 Identifying ways to build authentic leadership within
 Applying authentic leadership to the field of library
The definition of the word “authentic” is credible, genuine,
reliable, worthy of trust or not fake. A leader is someone who
rules, guides or inspires people; takes the initiative to devise a
plan of action.
An authentic leader has knowledge of their own strengths and
weaknesses, is guided by a set of values and beliefs, and gains
faith and trust from others.
An authentic leader takes responsibility for their own actions.
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do
more and become more, you are a leader.” John Quincy Adams
Definitions of Authentic Leadership
 Self-awareness
 Genuine, visionary, able to see the big picture
 Worthy of trust, reliable, persuasive, leads by example
 Not fake, not out for self-aggrandizement
 Pure, real, takes responsibility for decisions
 Initiating people to follow in a shared direction
 Influences people to accomplish a shared goal
Demonstrating Authentic Leadership
Authentic leaders are able to:
 Align people around a
 Demonstrate consistent
support and empathy
 Are available to others
 Deliver on commitments
they make
 Recognize their own
Examples of Authentic Leaders
There are many examples
of authentic leaders:
George Washington,
Abraham Lincoln, John F.
Kennedy, Robert Kennedy,
Nelson Mandela, Mahatma
Ghandi, Eleonor Roosevelt,
Mother Teresa. In today’s
world, authentic leaders are
not as visible to us as they
are in history books, but
they live amongst us. They
are our neighbors, our
coworkers, our daughters,
and sometimes, ourselves.
Personal Competence: How we manage ourselves
Social Competence: How we manage relationships
Social Awareness
Relationship Management
Goleman’s Leadership Competencies
According to Goleman,
leadership competencies are
not innate talents but are
learned abilities. By
developing these
competencies one can
become an emotionally
intelligent leader.
Our competency level
determines what kind of
leader we are.
 Emotional Self-Awareness is
the ability to read your own
emotions and recognize their
impact. It is often referred to
as “gut sense” or an intuition.
 Accurate Self-Awareness is
knowing your own strengths
and weaknesses.
 Self-Confidence is knowing
your own abilities and
limitations and commanding
a sense of your own selfworth.
 Emotional Self-Awareness or the ability to keep
emotions under control.
 Transparency by displaying honesty, integrity and
 Adaptability by being flexible to change; to overcome
 Achievement or the ability to demonstrate a drive to
improve performance and meet personal standards of
 To take Initiative and act when necessary; to seize
 Optimism by embracing the positive.
Social Awareness
Social Awareness
 Using Empathy to be sensitive to others’ needs; sense
others’ emotions and be understanding of their
perspectives; to take an interest in others’ lives; to
 To have an Organizational Awareness of currents,
decision networks, and politics on the organizational
level; the ability to view circumstances from a broader
 A commitment to Service; monitoring the needs of
customers and facilitating the needs of people.
Teamwork and collaboration
Conflict management
Change catalyst
Developing others
Relationship Management
 Inspirational Leadership by encouraging a compelling
 Influence through persuasion.
 Developing others by bolstering others’ abilities
through feedback and guidance.
 Being a Change Catalyst by leading in a new direction.
 Resolving disagreements through Conflict
 Using Teamwork and Collaboration to ensure
cooperation and team building.
“The price of greatness is responsibility” Winston Churchill
Leadership is a choice. You
can choose to become an
authentic leader by
developing leadership
competencies. An
authentic leader
encourages people to
become the best they can
be and leads by example.
They spend their time
building bridges instead of
tearing them down.
Leadership Development
Stepping forward through:
Developing skills in:
 Education; leadership
 Problem solving
Seizing opportunities to
exercise leadership
Challenging yourself through
new assignments
Working with a wide variety
of people
 Setting an example
 Trusting others to do
assigned jobs
 Accepting responsibility for
 Growing from mistakes
 Caring for co-workers
Authentic Leaders have Developed these Skills
Listening: learn to be empathetic to those around you or
that you supervise. Focus completely on what
individuals are saying, without distractions.
Communicating: always tell the truth, be honest but use
compassion and understanding.
Acting: actions must reflect your
values. You cannot say one
thing and do another.
Sharing: celebrate the successes
of those around you.
Libraries as places of information management are structured in
a way that is conducive to growing authentic leadership. As
“people places” libraries invite a wide range of opportunities for
leadership: reference, access services, technical services,
administration, online services and through global initiatives
that drive standards on a broader level. Here are some examples
of how authentic leadership can be grown in the library
Reference Services
 Promoting the library and it’s mission in every aspect of
service that you give.
 Placing the needs of the patron first; service before self.
 Practicing self-control, emotional strength and
discipline when working with angry patrons.
 Strive for excellence, finding the right answers.
 Give positive and constructive feedback to staff.
 Join professional organizations.
 Establish open communication with those you work
Access Services
 Always begin service with a smile; make yourself
 Step up to offer help when a patron is hesitant.
 Create a positive environment in the daily work with
coworkers or patrons; bring out the best in those
around you.
 Always remember the bigger work that libraries do as
you perform the more mundane tasks such as library
checkout or shelving.
 Be a bridge to information.
Technical Services
 Forming partnerships with coworkers that have
expertise in different areas such as acquisitions or
 Keeping up with changes in LC standards and being
the first to look ahead at implementation (ex. RDA).
 Participation in education, training, and working with
new employees.
 Creating guidelines in the work that you do; pushing
to make the “job” better.
Administration: Deans, Directors,
Coordinators, Supervisors
 Developing strong communication channels with
 Using various leadership styles dependent on the
situation and the people involved.
 Making sure that associates understand their value
and institutional role.
 Be informed and involved in all aspects of the library.
 Making yourself available to associates and
Online Services
 Website presence that is representative of the defining
characteristics of your library.
 Using leadership competencies in answering email
and chat responses.
 Using new technologies and software for online
services; keeping abreast of online capabilities.
 Implementing feedback forms for ways to improve
online services.
Global Initiatives
 Leading in community service; community outreach.
 Following the policies already established.
 Drafting policies specific for your library.
 Membership in library organizations; ALA, MLA.
 Regional and local networking.
 Collaboration with other libraries; interlibrary loan.
 Librarians without boarders; helping libraries in times
of disaster.
Websites About Library Leadership
 Library Leadership Network:
 Winning with library leadership website:
 LIS Future:
 PALINET Leadership Network:
Importance of Authentic Leadership
 Brings out the best in
 Builds honesty
 Makes the organization
 Sets an example of
positive behavior for
those around us
 Drives quality
performance through
leadership competencies
 Establishes integrity
 Promotes fairness
 Demands respect
 Takes courage
Goleman, D., Boyatzis, R., and McKee, A. (2002). Primal leadership:
learning to lead with emotional intelligence. Boston, MA: Harvard
Business School Press.
Morales, P. (n.d.) Authentic Leadership for Sustainable Development.
Retrieved June 9, 2008 from
Olson, C.A., Singer, P.M. (2004). Winning with library leadership:
enhancing services through connection, contribution, & collaboration.
Chicago: American Library Association.
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