The authentic leadership paved for the understanding that leaders are not merely to just lead. There are certain attributes which make up a good leader. It somehow detailed the facts to mold new generation of leaders.
In this time and age, we now ask ourselves, “Where have all our leaders gone?” We succumbed and tolerated the thieves of our drive for leadership: burnout, trust issues, understatements, no recognitions, and the like. As a result, we are left with no authentic leaders in several professions.
Authentic leadership gave a fresh and old perspective of leadership. It acknowledged the propositions of other theories, and made more propositions out of the incompleteness and inconsistencies. The theory proposed that there is a boundary between a good leader to a great leader. There are four underlying components of authentic leadership: self-awareness, balanced information, authentic behavior, and relational transparency (Gardner et. al. 2005). Four components can be described collectively to as being able to understand his own unique talents and strengths, values, beliefs, and aligning them with their purpose, behaviors, and actions (Avolio, Gardner, 2005); that acts in accord with those values and not merely on pleasing others; that presenting one's self through openness and appropriate self-disclosure which prosper trust (Norman, 2006); act in accordance with their ethical concepts to make right, rational, and ethical decisions (Hannah et. al., 2005); that conditions of higher trust in leaders and increased hope and optimism for the future allowing individuals to focus more positively on their strengths, expand their thinking, heightened their awareness of moral implications of their decisions, and facilitate overall performance of followers (May et. al., 2003). Trust, integrity, and credibility here play a vital role. For whatever constitutes the followers' behavior or actions is dependent on that of the leader.
I have to salute this theory for it did not focus entirely on the leader. This theory acknowledged that there are communication and human relatedness involved for authentic leadership to happen. What distinguishes great leaders from merely good ones? It isn't IQ or technical skills (Goleman, 2011). Its emotional intelligence, there are skills that enable the best leaders to maximize their own and their followers' performance: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills. Everyone was born with these attributes. And we can strengthen these abilities through persistence, practice, and feedback from followers, colleagues, or mentors. However, those attributes may not be realistic for everyone. It is being perfect inspite of the what if's and what not's. We are still humans who are capable of doing the right and wrong things and being able to use those for our growth. And let us not forget the opinions of others, that one way or the other, no one can please everybody. In this age of competitiveness, everyone wants to be an authentic leader, but not everyone is persistent nor followed. Nevertheless, we view and use those challenges and development for our own and humanity's benefit. In the light of the nursing theories, nurses are somehow authentic leaders in small and big perspectives. We are not merely just giving care but being a servant leader for patients. We do not constrain ourselves on our medical responsibilities but we act as army instruments for their bright future. We have reached to stop tolerating ourselves with the “thieves” in us, rather do and hear the “voice” of betterment.