Certificate of Authenticity

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Abstract This paper explores a few key characteristics of an authentic leader. In the beginning it describes the difference between leadership styles and actually being authentic. Ex-Enron CEO Kenneth Lay, before his conviction portrayed himself as an authentic leader. After his conviction it was evident that there wasn‟t any authentic intention behind his decision making. The purpose of paper is to show how authentic leaders govern themselves in the workplace. This document provides an explanation of standing alone, living in freedom of truth, building teams, being courageous, and living for a higher purpose as an authentic leader. In conclusion, an authentic leader knows who they are, stands on what they believe, and they lead others on the path of excellence. 2

Running Head: Certificate of Authenticity
Certificate of Authenticity: Characteristics of Authentic Leaders and the Decisions They Make “Prosecutor Sean Berkowitz said, „the jury sent and unmistakable message: You can‟t lie to shareholders. No matter how rich and powerful, you must play by the rules‟.” (Msnbc.com news, 2006) The former statement made by Mr. Berkowitz occurred during the trial of Ex-Enron executives Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling. These executives were convicted of fraud and conspiracy after the demise of the company in 2001. In this case, being an in-authentic leader lead to the loss of “$60 billion in market value, almost $2.1 billion in retirement savings and 5,600 jobs”. (Msnbc.com news, 2006) The results of the trial would have an effect on the guiding principles of leadership in organizations forever. In organizations today it may seem difficult to believe that authentic leadership still exists. The media thrives on leaders such as Ex-Enron CEO Kenneth Lay and Ex-WorldCom CEO Bernard Ebbers, who have been convicted in corporate scandals which has lead to the ultimate down fall of their organizations. Therefore authentic leaders aren‟t usually the center of attention. As a leader it is very important to learn from the mistakes of others. In order to be effective as an authentic leader it is a mandate to play by the rules by upholding a high incorruptible level of integrity. While corruption will always occur at some point in time in organizations; it is vital to the success of authentic leaders to showcase the abilities to stand alone by the truth, be free, build teams, create communities, have courage, and live for a higher purpose. Before we can discuss the characteristics of an authentic leader, we first need to know and understand what an authentic leader is. Authentic leaders are ethical and trust worthy. They 3

Running Head: Certificate of Authenticity
are confident in the truth they speak, while being courageous, they lead from the heart, build teams and create communities. In addition, they commit to excellence rather than perfection, uphold high morals, and leave a legacy that last a lifetime. (Sharma, 2010) “Authentic leaders know who they are, know what they believe in and value, and act on those values and beliefs openly and candidly” (Robbins, Judge, & Sanghi, 2010, p. 188). As this definition relates to the previous statement quoted by Berkowitz from the Enron Trial, the amount of money and political status has absolutely nothing to do with being authentic leader. In the Enron case the leaders where the exact opposite of genuine. Often time‟s people govern themselves in leadership according to what they have observed from other leaders. This example explains the expression “following the leader”. However when you follow the leader, you may miss the opportunity to stand alone as an authentic leader. Standing alone is the authenticity of being a leader and not specifically the leadership style. Corporate America teaches various leadership styles such as charismatic leadership and transformational leadership. Charismatic leaders “have a vision, they are willing to take personal risk to achieve that vision, they are sensitive...
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