The authentic leadership model of Gardner, Avolio, Luthans, et al. (2005) focuses on the core self-awareness and self-regulation components of authentic leadership. They identified several distinguishing features associated with authentic self-regulation processes, including internalized regulation, balanced processing of information,relational transparency, and authentic behavior. They also argued that authentic leadership includes a positive moral perspective characterized by high ethical standards that guide decision making and behavior. In sum, the proposed view of the authentic leadership suggests that authentic leaders show to others that they genuinely desire to understand their own leadership to serve others more effectively (George, 2003). They (authentic leaders) act in accordance with deep personal values and convictions to build credibility and win the respect and trust of followers. By encouraging diverse viewpoints and building networks of collaborative relationships with followers, they lead in a manner that followers perceive and describe as authentic (Avolio et al., 2004)
Their model is quite interesting, since among all the other models of authentic leadership, it is the model that is firmly rooted on the "still existing" social psychological theory and research on authenticity (as compared to other scholars who had a more inductive or philosophical take on theory development). It also explicitly recognizes and articulates the central role of an internalized moral perspective to authentic leadership. It also focuses on the development of authentic leaders and followers, which make it somehow, something that can be developed in leaders (Walumba, et.al., 2008). It is worthy to note that they asserted that advanced level of moral development is a requirement for the achievement of leader authenticity, which was deliberately omitted by other scholars (Shamir & Eliam, 2005) from their conceptualization of authentic leadership, reasoning that a leader can be “true to self” without attaining a high level of moral development or complying with high standards of ethical conduct. Gardner, Avolio, and Walumbwa (2005) then counters Shamir & Eliam's (2005) notion by saying that defining authenticity as involving self-awareness and self-acceptance appears to be conceptually in-consistent with a low level of moral development. Although people may be true to themselves at a modest level of moral development (Kegan, 1982; Kohlberg, 1984), they are unlikely to possess the capacity for self-reflection and introspection required for a true understanding of the self (or others). For me, their argument is valid, and it does make a lot of sense because their reason for rejecting the argument is grounded in literature, especially that of social psychology.
Avolio, Gardner, and colleagues’ (2005) model on authentic leadership is very promising. It proposes a type of leader who at first I thought may be like the other theorized type of leaders, but when I went to the micro level, I saw the authentic leader as someone who is a mixture of all the other proposed type of leaders. It seemed to me like an upgraded version of all the other leaders. As what these guys have said, they did not attempt to develop a new theory on leadership. They further assert that their goal was to investigate the common core of all leadership theories to discover, test, and explain the essence of authentic leadership intrinsic to a wide variety of leadership approaches. I agree with Wong & Cummings (2009) that some of the model's elements overlap with previous theory on leaders, but I guess these overlaps don't make their theory lesser than the other leadership models. When theorizing what an ideal leader or leadership is, it's good to take into account the other established theories to make a better "leader".
To be an authentic leader is like almost being perfect. The theory as it is, is very beautiful but applying it to the real world, or even to myself, warrants me to transcend beyond everything i think is true. And truthfully speaking, that's like me not being Conchitina Lluch anymore. The beauty of being human is that we can always try and strive to be the best we can be, and be "the change we want to see in the world". and to me, this is the essence of all these theories. To show us that if we really want to, we can achieve things we thought are just mere "theories" and to guide us as we strive to be better. It is indeed a challenge to me, and to all the nurses.
Last edited by TheConchitinaLluch on Sat 16 Jul 2011, 11:31 pm; edited 1 time in total