Skip to content Skip to main navigation Skip to footer

Authentic Leadership: 4 Ways to Make Your Passion Purposeful

By Tiara Muse, Director of Research and Megan Heim, Vice President, Furst Group

Ms. Muse is a member of the CHEF Chapter Communications Committee.

Leadership is derived from trust. Career goals are terrific, but the surest way to truly serve your company and your colleagues – and to find fulfillment yourself – is to become the most authentic person and leader you know.

As healthcare continues to experience volatility, your team needs a leader who stands his or her ground, with calmness in crisis and empathy for others. There will always be changing dynamics that impact the way we do business and the skills needed to be effective as a leader. But remaining focused on your core values helps to prime the soil in which leadership can flourish.

The term “authentic leadership” has been experiencing a resurgence recently after initially being popularized by author Bill George and others over the last two decades. But, like any catchphrase, nuance is important, and it helps to understand what is packed into the term. We’d like to suggest some components of what makes leadership truly authentic today in healthcare.

Leadership will not necessarily look the same in all individuals in all organizations in all markets. It was Steve Jobs who said, “Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.”

If you’re reading this, we believe that you want to make a difference in people’s lives – that is why most of us choose to work in healthcare. It’s not as much about the biggest paycheck or the corner office. So,  who is it that you want to become and how do you want to impact others?

Answering that question may take some time and reflection. But once you have sorted that out, here are four ways to become, and remain, the truest version of yourself:

Remain emotionally available.

Strive to lead with your heart, not just your mind. The employees who report to you are human beings. In an age where we are electronically connected more than ever before, psychologists and sociologists tell us that we are, paradoxically, more isolated. A leader who truly cares for the people under his or her wing will find employee engagement and productivity rising, by taking the time to know those around you.

George has this to say on the topic: “Empathy is not a weakness. It is a strength and skill that allows authentic leadership through trust, encouragement and communication.” 

Next steps: Build a strong reputation as a leader with the competence and compassion to develop other leaders. Ensure your open-door policy is not just lip service, and genuinely ask for feedback. Plan time with your team to get to know them – take them to lunch, find time for team-building exercises, and pull them aside for impromptu check-ins to show them you are available and interested in them. 

Practice self-awareness.

Get real – with yourself. You don’t have to know all the answers. Self-awareness is a critical component in growing as a leader. What are your strengths? What areas do you need to develop? Where are your blind spots? What makes you uncomfortable?

Is there a mentor you trust to tell you the truth? This could be a leader higher up in your organization or someone outside of the healthcare field. Even better is having a sponsor within your organization, someone who will champion your leadership and give you opportunities, not merely advice, as you explore your goals.

The best leaders network strategically, as well. Many people look up the organizational ladder too often and not across the aisle or down the hall as they think through career development. The executives at the top do not have all of the answers; utilize your peers. 

Next steps: In this area, it can be beneficial to talk with … click to read more.


Raw trackable link:


Back to top