To emphasize the need for accountability, Malandro Loretta quoted: “When you truly understand how others experience your behavior, without defending or judging, you then have the ability to produce a breakthrough in your leadership and team. Everything starts with your self-awareness. You cannot take charge without taking accountability, and you cannot take accountability without understanding how to avoid it.” Authentic leadership stresses the idea of leading by example. Leaders are measured by the ability and authority to make people follow them. Authentic leadership and trust are important because people will want to follow someone they can trust and easily relate to.
Understanding that authentic leadership is a process and that leaders are not always fully authentic or inauthentic is important because it reduces the pressure of being a perfect leader. It also makes the subordinates understand that the process may not easy. However, leaders who portray the real themselves can establish open and genuine relationships with their subordinates, a trait that is important in the military. Furthermore, an authentic leader tests how the subordinates feel (George, 2010). Becoming an authentic leader is a process of being oneself and taking care of the interests of the subordinate (Horval, 2020). The bigger picture is creating an impact on the significance of the employees’ lives.
Throughout my military experience, I have learned that authentic leadership makes the subordinates feel worth. I have learned that being an excellent military leader is not about the management of tactics or the employment of weaponry, but rather the human element that allows one to successfully guide people’s social interaction (Department of the Army, 2006). A leader that practices authentic leadership is inspired to create a positive impact on the subordinates. Soldiers often want to imitate their leader because of the values they exhibit, making them seemingly self-effacing. For instance, authentic leaders ensure that their entire operations are respectful. Even with their subordinates, they create a work environment that provides that every person’s opinion, no matter how junior, is valued. Every person in the team is treated with dignity. All efforts are appreciated, and each talent within the group is recognized. The subordinates tend to exhibit this behavior voluntarily, and it flows naturally from the topmost level. Thus, authentic leadership is a constant process whereby leaders continually develop their behavior, especially by working on their self-awareness.
As an authentic leader, everything starts with self-awareness. It is essential to acknowledge one’s strengths and weaknesses. Furthermore, just like any other person, a military leader is human and possess weak and strong traits. Sometimes, leaders may fail to consider some important factors when making decisions, or sometimes, unfamiliar situations may come up. As a leader, everyone will expect them to take charge. In such cases, an authentic leader will seek multiple solutions from different people, including their subordinates. In any case, another significant value of an authentic leader is being open-minded and fair-minded. Accepting and acknowledging every person’s opinion makes the leader popular among the subordinates because of their fairness (Horval, 2019). When leaders understand their strengths and weaknesses, they can develop strategies to improve where they go wrong and take advantage of their strong areas.
Leadership is not all about command or being authoritative and commanding attention and respect from subordinates. A leader with humility goes achieves great success because they get a lot of support from their followers. They not only understand others but themselves. Humility sets apart different leaders and determines the success of an organization. This value is critical in military leadership. It makes one a willing learner, appreciating other people’s opinions and ideas, recognizing their strengths and weaknesses, and using this understanding in directing them.
Authentic leadership is successfully achieved by leading the way and being an example to the subordinates. Followers tend to trust leaders who show them a real version of themselves through being self-aware and confident through the entire process. A good leader is ready to take accountability and take charge even through unfamiliar situations. This makes followers trust the leader. By exhibiting this behavior, the leader inspires them and models how to become authentic leaders and better versions of themselves.
Authentic leadership in the military develops resilient soldiers that quickly and positively adapt the following adversity. Furthermore, the positivity and good leadership rub off on them, making them feel appreciated, their opinions valued, and their talents recognized. As a result, the leader builds strong and honest relationships with the subordinates, where everyone feels valued and respected. The working environment is also full of positivity, with everyone being treated with dignity because their effort is appreciated. The leader does not shy off from seeking other people’s opinions in challenging situations because this also helps in his self-awareness process.
The mentioned values are significant for a leader, especially in the military. With the leader understanding his values and being fully self-aware, the followers can trust through them because the main goal in authentic leadership is to inspire and empower subordinates.
Department of the Army (2006). Field Manual 6-22, Army leadership: Competent, confident,
and agile. Washington DC
Horval, s. (2020). Authentic Leadership. https://www.armyupress.army.mil/Journals/NCO-Journal/Archives/2020/March/Authentic-Leadership/
George, B. (2010). True north: Discover your authentic leadership (Vol. 143). John Wiley & Sons.
Malandro, R. (n.d.). Quotes Wiki. Retrieved from https://www.quotes.wiki/when-you-can-truly- understand-how-others-experi/