Authentic Leadership Theory

Cite this article as:"Authentic Leadership Theory," in The Business Professor, updated April 9, 2020, last accessed October 29, 2020,


What is Authentic Leadership?

Authentic leadership posits that a leader should remain true to herself – rather than trying to change her style in any given situation.

Authentic leaders derive their approaches to others based on their backgrounds, life experiences, and role models. These factors collectively shape one’s values, preferences, and priorities.

Authentic Leaders are thought to possess the following qualities:

  • Self-Awareness – Authentic leadership requires the leader to be introspective and reflective in an attempt to understand her own values and priorities. This can be understood as “self-awareness”. This generally requires the leader to reflect on her decisions and seek input on how her decisions affect others.
  • Personal Integrity – Leaders are true to themselves and find a leadership style in their own abilities. They act the way they are, say what they think, and follow through on commitments.

The objective of these tendencies is to foster trust from subordinates. The desired effect for the organization is higher subordinate satisfaction, performance, and well-being.

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