An authentic leader is someone who empowers rather than dominates, and they also know that at times their job requires the right amount of demand on others for them to be effective.
The difference is that the demand isn’t coming from a narrow self-interest – like the leader’s concern for how they look to the Board or the Shareholders, it stems from a desire to truly empower others. It’s authentically coming from their concern for the team winning, and the individuals in that team excelling and experiencing success.
A core aspect of empowering someone is relating to them as capable of more than they themselves see they are capable of, and demanding that level of performance from them.
Indicators of relating to someone as less capable are:
ü Avoiding asking someone to take something on because you think ‘they already have enough on their plate’;
ü Taking back inferior work and deciding ‘I’ll just do it myself’;
ü Accepting ‘I ran out of time’, ‘I didn’t get the support I needed from …’, or any other excuses for someone not getting their job done.
When we talk to people about who has made the greatest impact on them in their careers, it is never the nice guy. It is always the person who demanded more of them, who was fair and compassionate but unrelenting in their commitment to having them be as great as they knew they could be. They report that it was not their experience that this person didn’t have any interest in them, quite the opposite, they didn’t back down - they didn’t give up on them.
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