Creating authentic leadership

What is authentic leadership?

Leaders of organizations today face the greatest personal challenge ever faced by leaders – to create their own authentic leadership style. The “leadership techniques” of old are often seen as manipulative. Instead, today’s leaders need to reach inside themselves to discover their own unique and authentic style of leadership. They need to show courage and adaptability within a changing business landscape that requires rapid responses to global challenges.

Authentic leaders can transform the way employees think and feel, how they behave and how they respond to challenges. They can expand their team members’ potential, raise accountability and create powerful shifts in corporate perspective, performance and possibility.

“We’re not encouraged to be human in the workplace, but when we finally get in touch with ourselves, it’s such a relief to actually be who we are, it’s like finding the truth for ourselves for the first time.”

Tiffany Gaskell, Managing Director, Performance Consultants

The changing face of leadership

As companies are constantly adapting to the dynamic market fluctuations fuelled by innovation and globalization, many leaders are putting down their well-practised directive leadership style and exploring other styles more in keeping with the times and the changing needs.

In July The Sunday Times interviewed our own Director of Coaching & Leadership, Tiffany Gaskell, about the changing face of leadership and the need to humanize the workplace; and the BBC ran a series called “The Leadership Gap”, which points out the danger of adopting leadership styles that are not authentic.

It is clear that there is a genuine move towards a more authentic, co-operative leadership approach, away from authoritarian leadership. To meet this need, today’s leaders need to face up to the call for change and examine their own leadership style and whether it is really meeting the needs of their people, organization and marketplace.

How do you create authentic leadership?

When it comes to leadership development, we need to be clear about what we are referring to – “technical skills” such as the ability to interpret financial reports or “human skills” that include emotional intelligence and the ability to inspire and engage people and whole organizations? Using the analogy of the Inner Game, we can distinguish between the two as follows:

  • Inner Game = human skills
  • Outer Game = technical skills
transformational leadership development program
performance consulting leadership-development-consulting

Join one of our webinars to find out more about a coaching leadership style

Technical skills are the focus of the traditional MBA programme and it is interesting to note that the Wall Street Journal recently picked up an article that also ran in the UK which highlighted the fact that these programmes were not known for producing great leaders.

Below is what one of the world’s visionary global leaders, John McFarlane, Chairman of Barclays plc, says is the responsibility of leaders and what they need to be developed for. For McFarlane, technical skills in a leader are a given; it is the soft skills that need attention:

“Our responsibility as leaders is to create an exciting but safe adventure for our people, that is worthy of them devoting their lives to it. How people feel about working in the organization, and how passionate and engaged they are in its agenda, is what makes the difference between good and great companies. Our people innovate and produce results, and we in turn provide them with opportunity and development. Because of this, we need new ways of developing leadership, of bringing out the best in people and creating a modern-age environment within our organizations. This requires investing in people, and enhancing the values and belief system of the organization to provide meaning to our people such that it is an adventure rather than a job.”

McFarlane was formerly Chairman of multinational insurance giant Aviva plc, where he oversaw a transformation of the company, the Board and management, making Aviva one of the UK’s best-performing financial institutions. Research supports McFarlane’s view and reveals talent deficiencies in leaders’ ability to:

  • Inspire change
  • Manage change
  • Develop employees

So, we have established that crucial leadership skills in today’s organizations are lacking and that investing in the human skills, not just the technical ones is key. However, there are many programmes that focus on developing technical leadership skills but less that focus on Inner Game or inner skills. It is the latter which are needed to create authentic leaders.

McFarlane underlines the need for this when he says:

“The scarcest resource in business today is leadership. We forget at our peril that it is people, their collective ability and energy, and how they work together for a common purpose that makes a company great. It is people that serve customers and create new ideas.”

It is time to help our leaders discover the authentic skills and behaviours that will make them extraordinary.

“There is always an Inner Game being played in your mind no matter what outer game you are playing. How aware you are of this game can make the difference between success and failure in the outer game.”

Tim Gallwey, creator of the Inner Game

The Inner Game of Leadership

With all of the above in mind, Performance Consultants collaborated with the Inner Game Founder, Tim Gallwey, to create the Inner Game of Leadership programme which builds on 40 years of Inner Game work and focuses on developing the crucial “human skills” in leaders.

The Inner Game perspective, principles and methods have been used successfully by many multinational companies for over three decades, including long-term clients Apple, AT&T, The Coca Cola Company and Rolls-Royce Group. Read below a client testimonial from Rolls Royce to see how the Inner Game has been used in organizations.

Creating authentic leadership at Rolls-Royce

“What [The Inner Game facilitators] demonstrate very clearly is the limitations of traditional hierarchical leadership. And they not only demonstrate it but also guide and support participants in practising the partnership and collaboration skills that are so essential for both team and individual excellence. In short, they help people to move from getting things done through the use of formal authority to getting things done through influence, persuasion and a profound understanding of what makes for effective team performance. They do not proclaim this to be an easy change to make, nor do they shirk from challenging the behaviour that prevents the full realization of both leadership and team-working potential. The increasing pace of globalization demands leadership of this type. Developing people to acquire and adopt the necessary skills is not easy and there are few who can provide the knowledge, understanding and experience to help. Tim [Gallwey] is undoubtedly amongst those few.”
Tim Hornblow, Director of Management Education Programme (Retired), Rolls-Royce plc (2012)

To find out how you can bring the Transformational Leader Pathway and the Inner Game to your organization or fast-track your leaders to become extraordinary ones with tailored coaching for leaders, please call:

London: +44 (0)20 3903 0011
New York: +1 917 580 3857
Berlin: +49 30 587 408 63
Beijing: +86 186 1132 9597

Connect with us:

meeting your needs

How can you bring coaching into your organization?

Sir John and his colleagues at Performance Consultants were the first to take coaching into the workplace and coined the term “performance coaching” in the early 1980s. We continue to lead the field in performance improvement through coaching leadership training.

Select one of the options shown. Or get in touch and one of our world-class leadership development consultants will work with you to create a tailored programme that meets your specific needs.

  • Attend a Coaching Course – experience the benefits of coaching first hand. See our Global Training Calendar to find the right course for you
  • Transformational Leader Pathway – learn how to be a leader–coach with a coaching leadership style that creates a culture of high performance for you, your team and entire organization
  • Performance Coach Certification – become a coach or take your coaching skills to the next level so that you can practise transformational leadership coaching
  • Individual Coaching (1:1) – take your leadership to the next level with a tailored, fast-track professional development coaching programme
  • Team Development – unlock the next level of potential in your team with team coaching