Your Authentic Core
Your Authentic Core

Your Authentic Core

Every leader has an authentic core.

But not every leader lives and leads out of their authentic core.

At least, not always.

For the Christian leader, living and leading out of their authentic core in the long-term means consistently aligning leadership identity and style with core Christian values, ethics, and convictions, within the leader’s vocational context, while also seeking “sustained high performance in the face of ever-increasing pressure.”[1]

Put simply, it means leading like Jesus, if Jesus did what He has called you to do.

Of course, this is easier said than done. But far from impossible.

It starts with understanding the four dimensions of the authentic core, including the fact that each dimension interacts with and influences the others.

Identity: One of my clients has accepted the challenge of shifting from a positional leadership mindset to a leadership identity mindset. In other words, he has started the journey from doing (his role) to being (a leader) because he realises that “who you are is more important than what you are.”[2] This is the essence of authentic leadership. My authority (how I show up as a leader) stems absolutely from the core identity question, “Who am I?”

Capacity: Sustainability for the Christian leader means creating healthy margins. “Margin is created when you gain more power (through sources of positive energy) than you expend (load).”[3] Capacity is the amount of load you can carry. The key is to increase your capacity for high-performance leadership by increasing your sources of power (because, unfortunately, decreasing the load is rarely possible).

Competency: For the Christian leader, competency refers to mastering the skills and competencies of leadership that looks like Jesus, even when it means “acting against our nature.”[4] These competencies include, but certainly are not limited to, demonstrating strong ethics, providing a sense of safety in those around us, fostering a sense of connection and belonging, and nurturing growth in others.[5]

Legacy: In his book Good to Great, Jim Collins describes a Level 5 Leader as one who “has a sense of purpose beyond their own success”[6] and “builds enduring greatness through a paradoxical blend of personal humility and professional will.”[7] Such a focus speaks to a bigger calling than self – a life purpose that transcends your position or role. In other words, what do you want to be remembered for, what expressions of “enduring greatness” do you aspire to build, what enduring difference are you called to make in the lives of others.

The concept of the authentic core is central to the 5-D Appreciative Coaching model that constitutes our framework. It’s a tool that allows the coach and the leader in partnership to access and mobilise the authentic core of the leader. If you’d like to know more about our coaching model and how we might be able to help you, then contact me to arrange a free chat.

[1]   Jim Loehr and Tony Schwarz, “The Making of a Corporate Athlete,” Harvard Business Review (January 2001): 120.

[2]   Jeff Boss, “How to Build Your Leadership Capacity,” Forbes, last modified September 8, 2017, accessed November 3, 2021, https://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffboss/2017/09/08/how-to-build-your-leadership-capacity/.

[3]   Colleen J. Kalynych, “The Application of Margin in Life Theory in Regard to Attrition and Remediation Among Emergency Medicine Residents” (PhD diss., University of North Florida, 2010), 10-11.

[4]   Sunnie Giles, “The Most Important Leadership Competencies, According to Leaders Around the World,” Harvard Business Review (March 15, 2016), accessed November 8, 2021, https://hbr.org/2016/03/the-most-important-leadership-competencies-according-to-leaders-around-the-world/.

[5]   Giles, “The Most Important Leadership Competencies, According to Leaders Around the World.”

[6]  Jim Collins, Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Others Don’t (Pymble, NSW: HarperCollins Publishers, 2001), 283, Apple Books.

[7]   Collins, Good to Great, 37.

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