Authentic leadership is a defined leadership style currently en vogue in some circles. It has been defined as a managerial style in which a leader builds his or her legitimacy through honest relationships, values the input of followers or employees, and ethical behavior. Modern understandings of authentic leadership have been promoted by former Harvard professor Bill George.
There are, of course, several different definitions of what precisely authentic leadership is. Leading business scholars maintain that there are specific, distinct qualities within authentic leadership. These include self-awareness, relational transparency, fair-minded consideration of opposing viewpoints, in a clear ethical foundation. Many surveys of authentic leadership are geared toward religious leaders, but overall it is perceived as a pattern of behaviors that puts the above-mentioned qualities into practice.
In their effort to quantify the universe, scientists have created several means of gauging one’s level of authentic leadership. The Leader Authenticity Scale, the Authentic Leadership Questionnaire, and the Authentic Leadership Inventory have all been designed by social scientists in their quest to understand why some leaders and some organizations are more successful than others. In many ways, however, the understanding of authentic leadership is still in the early stages.