Authentic Leadership: Empowering Others to Shine

(This is cross posted on SA Women Lead –

Wow! It is only 12:30pm and my day has been full of enlightening moments.

Right off the bat, I had coffee with a colleague this morning and we were talking about removing egos and working from a place of common purpose. This led us to a conversation about how quickly we engage in tasks that need to be done and quickly move from one thing to the next. We do these things without acknowledging the person. I’m talking about recognizing the person behind the task, behind the professional persona. Who is the person sitting in front of me? What moves them? What have they gone through to get to today? What is unique that they bring to the table? Is today a good day or a bad day for them?

We talk about being authentic leaders in our lives and in our work with each other and with students. But how can we be our authentic selves and live truly authentic lives if we are not acknowledging the actual person?

I came back from that conversation and hoped on Twitter to see this post by @Kathy_Petras, which reminded me about my One Word Resolution. Kathy is reflecting on her resolution and how it is playing out so far for her. Her reflection really hit home for me and tied me right back to my One Word- Spirit.

You may be wondering, “Amber where are you going with this? What does spirit have to do with authentic leadership?”

To me, spirit has everything to do with authentic leadership. Here are a couple of explanations of spirit:

  • the vital principle or animating force within living things
  • a fundamental emotional and activating principle determining one’s character
  • liveliness: animation and energy in action or expression

By acknowledging the person, we are acknowledging their spirit. Their vital principle, their fundamental emotion, their activating principles. To me, these represent the authentic person and if we are aware of the spirit, as leaders we can provide opportunities for the person to shine. Doesn’t it feel good when someone truly sees you and gives you the opportunity to allow your spirit to shine?

A quick equation:

Acknowledging the person=recognizing the spirit within= empowering a person to shine.

You can be excellent today, anywhere you want to be. – John Duncan

Go forth and

P.S. Yes, I quoted my husband, John Duncan. He empowers me to shine.