6 Truths of Authentic Leadership…John Page Burton

Everyday, I see the word “leader” casually tossed around by people who seem to know very little about authentic leadership. For example, on my social media stream, I routinely see people publicly declare that they are “great leaders” and if someone desires to make real money, travel, live in the burbs and drive the car of their dreams, it would be wise to follow them. Give me a break! Last week, I actually saw a post where a person declared he was “a nationally recognized leader of leaders”. If this declaration wasn’t so blatantly egotistical, it might have had a slim chance of being funny!
For the past 15 years I have had the privilege of interviewing, working alongside and coaching hundreds of authentic leaders, leaders who conform to the highest standards of professional decorum. None of these authentic leaders  go around declaring themselves leaders, their followers have already made that determination for them. Their ACTIONS speak to their leadership skills. Remember, leadership is not taken, it is earned. Authentic leadership is genuine, real, worthy of trust, accountable and consistent. Authentic leadership doesn’t need a title to be effective, It’s effective because it is genuine.
Listeners. Authentic leaders tend to be excellent listeners. They listen to different points of view, ideas, concerns and most importantly, they pay attention to what is not being said. God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason.
Empathetic. Authentic leaders are able to identify psychologically with the feelings, thoughts and attitudes of those in their charge. An authentic leader rarely asks you to do something they are unwilling to do themselves. Empathy builds bridges and fosters allegiance. Empathy is endearing.
Alignment. Authentic leaders remain grounded by their beliefs and values. Their vision and actions are congruent with these beliefs. Effective leaders are recognized by others as people of strong character who can always be counted on to take the moral high ground.
Decisive. Authentic leaders are decisive. They gather information, weigh evidence and make a decision. They are willing to make changes if something is not working. They possess strong emotional intelligence and take bottom line for their decisions. Blame is not an option for an authentic leader.
Ethics. Authentic leaders place a high value on professional ethics.  They don’t cheat, take shortcuts, lie, use disrespectful language, hold grudges, gossip, sabotage subordinates or engage in any other “shady practices”. Authentic leaders prioritize integrity and treat people in their charge with dignity and respect.
Results. Authentic leaders achieve results. Results inform the world. Remember, people don’t follow titles, they follow people who they admire and trust. People will work their tails off for someone who is genuine and who has the teams best interest at heart. This is why authentic leaders achieve predictable results.
I encourage you to strive to become a leader others CHOOSE to follow. These 6 truths will help us stay focused on our journey to becoming an authentic leader.
John Page Burton is a life and business coach and the author of two books.  To learn more visit http://www.jpburtongroup.com/

“You’re Not The Boss Of Me”…John Page Burton

As children, many of us frequently challenged the authority of our family and friends by uttering the bold yet profound statement “you’re not the boss of me”. We let everyone around us know we were in charge of our own destiny and capable of handling our own affairs. Obviously this argument didn’t carry much weight as a 6 year old, however, as an adult I have found that “being the boss of me” has gone a long way toward determining the overall quality of my life experience. With the hope of creating a self sufficient world, I encourage everyone to once again declare from the rooftops…”you’re not the boss of me, I’m the boss of me!!!”

5 Tips for becoming “the boss of you”…

*We must be willing to take personal responsibility. We must develop a “bottom line mentality” in which we take ownership for our decisions and actions. Blaming others is no longer an option! When we acknowledge WE are the CEO of our own lives, we will become more mindful of our thoughts, words and deeds as well as their impact on everyone around us. I am “the boss of me”.

*We must speak our truth in EVERY situation. Far too many of us speak a “convenient truth” in order to get along with others. When I am indeed “the boss of me”, I am not willing to compromise my beliefs and values in order to please you. My truth may not always be popular however, it is my reality. Remember, it is far easier to recall the truth than it is to memorize the details behind a lie.

*We must know what we are worth and stop settling for scraps. Often, I will ask a client to share with me what they believe they are worth. Without fail, most of them provide the details of their salary, benefit package and the amount of money they have been able to save or invest. Many of us have become conditioned to tie our self worth to our pay check. As the “boss of me” I know I am worthy of love, respect, consideration, understanding and kindness. If I am settling for anything less, I am selling myself short.

*We must quit cheating. All of us have cheated at one time or another. We have taken a shortcut on a project, “fudged” on an expense report, spread gossip designed to hurt a fellow employee, knowingly sold a defective product, played on our computer during work time or a host of other activities that have kept us from being in integrity. It has been said that if you truly desire to get to know a person’s character, play a round of golf with them and watch how they keep score. As the “boss of me” I know when I cheat, I am only cheating myself, which makes no sense.

*We must strive to set a good example. Our children, employers, clients, friends, family members, neighbors and even strangers watch our behavior. Recently, while having dinner at a restaurant, I observed a man loudly insulting a waitress because his food was not prepared to his exact specifications. His wife, children and elderly parents were sitting with him at the table and a host of other restaurant patrons were clearly being effected by his actions. Is this the type of person we should strive to be?  I often reflect back on something my dad once told me. “Son, your actions are speaking so loudly, I’m not able to hear what you are saying.” Being “the boss of me” means I am mindful of the example I am setting in any given situation and I’m always striving to set a good one.

My hope is that in your mind you will aspire to become “boss of the year” and hold that title for years to come. I look forward to your thoughts and feedback.