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Submitted By jfarmer25
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We all have the capacity to inspire and empower others.
But we must first be willing to devote ourselves to our personal growth and development as leaders.

Discovering Your
Authentic Leadership by Bill George, Peter Sims, Andrew N. McLean, and
Diana Mayer

Reprint R0702H

We all have the capacity to inspire and empower others. But we must first be willing to devote ourselves to our personal growth and development as leaders.

Discovering Your
Authentic Leadership


by Bill George, Peter Sims, Andrew N. McLean, and
Diana Mayer

During the past 50 years, leadership scholars have conducted more than 1,000 studies in an attempt to determine the definitive styles, characteristics, or personality traits of great leaders. None of these studies has produced a clear profile of the ideal leader. Thank goodness. If scholars had produced a cookie-cutter leadership style, individuals would be forever trying to imitate it. They would make themselves into personae, not people, and others would see through them immediately.
No one can be authentic by trying to imitate someone else. You can learn from others’ experiences, but there is no way you can be successful when you are trying to be like them. People trust you when you are genuine and authentic, not a replica of someone else. Amgen CEO and president Kevin Sharer, who gained priceless experience working as Jack Welch’s assistant in the 1980s, saw the downside of GE’s cult of personality in those days. “Everyone wanted to be like Jack,” he explains. “Leadership has many voices. You need to be who you are, not try to emulate somebody else.”

harvard business review • • february 2007

Over the past five years, people have developed a deep distrust of leaders. It is increasingly

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