Authentic leadership is leadership that is based on positive ethical climate and positive psychological capacities, to nature increased self-knowledge, internalization of moral ideologies, objectivity in processing information and relational intelligibility for leaders working with their followers, to nature positive development  (Northouse, 2012).

Authentic leaders exhibit a number of characteristics. These include exhibiting genuine leadership, leading form conviction, being original (not copies of other people or leaders), have strong convictions that are based on strong personal values (Northouse, 2012). They also exhibit self awareness and self control. In this regard, authentic leaders value moral and ethical values.

This kind of leadership has various strengths. Leadership is based on moral dimensions, and the leaders are normally trustworthy. The leaders create strong relationships with their followers and also inspire their followers to be self driven and develop interest in realizing collective objectives. Authentic leaders lead by action, they value action rather than lengthy needless speeches (McIntyre, n.d.).

However, this kind of leadership also has a number of weaknesses. First, positive outcomes can only be realized when the followers identify with the values of their leader. Second, the leaders have to adapt to the values of their followers. Finally, the leader must be able to persuade the followers to buy into his/her ideas.

There are several leaders who demonstrate this kind of leadership. Rosa Parks, for instance, is a good example of an authentic leader:

She used her insight and discernment: Authentic leaders have a vision and apply their wisdom and discernment to achieve it (McIntyre, n.d.). Rosa Parks desired democratic freedom and right of the Blacks respected and thus worked for a number of African American organizations to realize her objective (Baker, n.d.).

She initiated action: Authentic leader initiate and lead to change. They are field marshals, not armchair generals, and they would not ask anyone to do what they are not willing to do themselves (McIntyre, n.d.). Rosa Parks demonstrated this when she refused to leave her seat in the bus to a Whiteman (Baker, n.d.).

She was inspirational: Authentic leaders inspire follower to rise to new levels of excellence and commitment on their own volition.  This kind of inspiration is different from influence. Inspiration is internal while influence is external. Rosa Parks managed to inspire a new direction for the civil rights movement (Baker, n.d.).

She made a difference: Authentic leader always influence their surroundings positively. The also positively influence the people with whom they engage (McIntyre, n.d.).  They create change through positively impacting on the lives of others rather than focusing on personal gains. Rosa parks demonstrated this when she sacrifice her own safety for the civil right movement.

She exhibited personal integrity: Parks exhibited integrity by always being truthful. All aspects of her life centered on integrity, and she did not fear conviction for standing for her beliefs (Baker, n.d.).

There are different situations under which authentic leadership works efficiently as well as other where this kind of leadership may fail to yield appropriate leadership outcomes. Situations that need authentic leaderships include where there is a need for a trustworthy leader; need for inspiration and encouragement to get followers to rise to the occasion; need to lead by action; need for a leader to nature relationships with the followers; and need to create strong teams or develop strong communities. Situations where this kind of leadership is less successful include situations where leader’s values do not match with the followers’ values and situation in which it is difficult to connect moral values with leadership outcomes.

I believe I exhibit authentic leadership in my leadership ability. On a scale of 1-10, I rate myself at 7 for authentic leadership. I work for King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology KACST (public relations and planning section) in Saudi Arabia where I have exhibited qualities of an authentic leader. I have shown the ability to lead by action, and base my leadership on moral values. I have strong self-awareness and self control, and has the ability to sell my ideas to other people. However, despite my ability to sell my ideas, I always experience a challenge in inspiring people who do not share my values to buy my ideas. This is a part of my authentic leadership skills that I need to work on to attain 10 level rating.


  1. Baker, C. (n.d.). Biography of: Rosa Parks. Retrieved from
  2. McIntyre, M. (n.d.). The Five Keys to Authentic Leadership. Retrieved from
  3. Northouse, P. G. (2012). Leadership: theory and practice. Sixth Edition. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications,
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