Authentic Leadership: Be an original leader and just be yourself

To be a truly authentic leader you must be original, which means being yourself at all times, not playing a character that you think is you or that represents the title you hold. Are you an authentic leader?

“Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.” – Oscar Wilde

The more you start to earn degrees and credentials, the more you start to blend in with the pack. The numbers may state otherwise, but the feeling remains. The Census Bureau says 33.4% of Americans 25 or older have completed their bachelor’s degrees. 9.3% of Americans over 25 have their master’s degrees, and only 2% have a doctorate (Wilson, 2017).

Even with these limiting numbers, the education boxes in the thought processes of those involved. You get graded on the same scale. You do similar assignments. The textbooks you read are the same. Rather than branching out and differentiating, you are becoming one in the same.

Your herd becomes smaller, but the animals within become more and more alike. Originality is replaced with rigidity. The ways of the group become set in stone. Wilde realizes there are already enough of the same people. Be unique. Be original. How can you do that?

 1. Take time to brainstorm

Read from materials outside of your industry. Sometimes, the curvature of a sports car can elicit an idea about a product you are developing. You read about the Civil War and all of a sudden you have an epiphany about which direction to take the project.

Lateral thinking becomes a great way to be original. Take bits and pieces that worked in the fashion industry and apply it to construction. Whatever those are? That is where your originality kicks in and your ability to create links between two unlikely sources.

Josh Waitzkin, a chess prodigy, and an author tells a story about his kid trying to get into a house. The door was locked, and they did not have a key. The child brainstorms the idea just to go around. Sometimes, when faced with an obstacle, the best bet is to just go around it. Some people will beat their heads against a wall to figure it out while others calmly walk around the wall onto the next one.

2. Take a break from your projects

You ever work on a spreadsheet or estimate so long that everything starts to look the same? The last thing you want to look at is another line item, but the work continues to pile up. Rather than push through and make a mistake, take a break. Give your eyes a rest. Your brain needs a break.

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