Authentic Leadership comes not from words. Authentic leadership comes from people watching you and learning from exemplary choices that you make. Trust, which is the foundation of leadership, is a result of first being trustworthy. Secondly, self-trust results from the courage—without blame—to take personal accountability for what is happening in your life. Nathaniel Hawthorne astutely wrote, “No person, for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself, and another to the multitudes, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be true.”
The Story: A troubled mother in India during the time Mahatma Gandhi was in office had a daughter who was addicted to sugar. One day she approached Gandhi, explaining the problem and asking if he would talk to the young girl. Gandhi replied, “Bring your daughter to me in 3 weeks’ time and I will speak to her.” After 3 weeks, the mother brought her daughter to Gandhi. He took the young girl aside and spoke to her about the harmful effects of eating sweets excessively and urged her to abandon her bad habit. The mother thanked Gandhi for this advice and then asked him, “But why didn’t you speak to her 3 weeks ago?” Gandhi replied, “Because 3 weeks ago, I was still addicted to sweets.”
The person we are will speak louder than any of our rhetoric.
From pg. 127, The Authentic Leader, David Irvine