The Holy Grail Of Authentic Leadership

May 8, 2014 — 1 Comment

Your self-esteem is a mixture of:

  • Being comfortable with yourself
  • Believing in yourself
  • Understanding and demonstrating your unique value
  • Exhibiting confidence in what you do

Self-esteem is about representing yourself with comfortable confidence, seeing yourself as being just as good as anyone else and having the confidence to hire people better, faster and stronger than you to generate exceptional business results.

It’s interesting because we don’t often hear the word self-esteem associated with leaders because most people assume all leaders have strong self-esteem. This however, is simply not the truth. On some level, most leaders struggle with the development and maintenance of their self-esteem.

Just as good character determines your moral standing, self-esteem determines your sustainable potential.  You can never rise above the image you have of yourself – how you really, truly see yourself.  Until you are satisfied with who you are, you’ll never be content with where you are.  I once heard someone say, “You can stand a lot as long as you can stand yourself” … how true it is!

Self-esteem is the fundamental basis from which your leadership capacity grows. Trying to become a real leader without first developing your inward confidence is like building a house on a foundation of sand. It may have a nice frame, but it is ultimately shaky and unstable – likely to collapse. While most organizations tend to focus on developing passion, communication and empowerment in their leaders, they ignore the most basic component: self-esteem. In the process, they are building these other components of leadership on a foundation of quicksand.

Any discussion on the further development of your leadership capability without first addressing your self-esteem is little more than window dressing:

  • Passion? You can’t be passionate if you can’t set a course for the future with confidence.
  • Communication? People won’t listen to you if they perceive you are unsure of yourself.
  • Empowerment? If you don’t have the internal fortitude to make decisions and commit to a course of action,  empowerment is just an empty room with an echo.

Self-esteem is your foundation. If you want to be a strong leader, lay a foundation of stone.

If you do not want to find yourself sinking fast in the quicksand of low self-esteem, it is essential for you to engage in practices to build and maintain it – establishing a solid foundation. To help you continue to develop as a leader, here are some ideas to continuously strengthen your self-esteem:

1.  Recognize You’re Not Alone.

Some of the greatest leaders throughout history struggled with self-doubt, with many of the most outwardly confident leaders battling self-esteem issues in private. You are not alone.

2.  Promote “Bigger Picture” Thinking About Your Role As A Leader.

Focus on a compelling vision and mission that promotes action and helps set priorities – laying the foundation for self-esteem reinforcing behaviors and achievements.

3.  Create A “Leadership Charter” For Your Team Or Organization.

A charter can remind everyone (including yourself) of the responsibility of an Authentic Leader and serve as your “bigger purpose.” A few moments reviewing and reflecting upon The Charter every morning will do wonders for your attitude and setting the tone for the day.

4.  Take Action.

Action (and movement) are critically important to building self-esteem. An internal preoccupation on your perceived failings coupled with inaction is truly a self-fulfilling prophesy.

5.  Keep Those Small Victories Count Front And Center.

Keep a record of every small victory to reinforce your growing self-esteem and positive attitude – focus on past, present and future successes.  In addition, publicly celebrate and praise the accomplishments of your boss, team members, colleagues and employees.  Your praise helps others build their self-esteem, while sharing the wealth helps you to remain cognizant of the value in others contributions – everyone wins!

6.  Focus On Your Strengths.

An emphasis on what you do well keeps you focused on the positive – which is visible to everyone. A preoccupation with your weaknesses reinforces low self-esteem (and is also visible to everyone).

7.  Selectively Take Action To Strengthen Weaknesses.

As you build upon your strengths and refocus your efforts around your priorities (The Charter), selectively identify those areas you would like to strengthen… and take action. Apply the lessons in a self-help book… take a course… or seek a mentor or coach to guide your efforts and offer reinforcement. Just do something to further develop yourself.

 8.  Don’t Overlook Your Physical Appearance.

While not the end all and be all, focus on getting in shape, losing weight, getting a better haircut and/or improving your style of dress. A significant aspect of self-esteem is driven from how we feel about our physical appearance.

9.  Read Something Inspirational.

Fuel for growing self-esteem can come from biographies of historical figures who battled overwhelming odds, only to win in the end.  It’s amazing how a look into someone else’s truly challenging situation can put your own self-doubt into perspective.

The Bottom-Line: Your self-esteem is an intensely personal issue that impacts others and affects your ability to succeed. A strong sense of your own self-worth is important for building self-esteem, and self-esteem is a critical ingredient to your success as a leader. If you’re struggling with self-esteem, it’s important to do something about it. Strong self-esteem is not a “nice-to-have”. You need, and deserve, a well developed self-esteem, just as those you interface with deserve a leader with enough self-confidence to help them succeed in unimaginable ways.

Self-esteem is an incredibly valuable, yet rare, commodity – both in people and across organizations.  More of it increases productivity, morale and efficiency while at the same time creating greater opportunities for growth.  Although it is in short supply, as an Authentic Leader you can foster, encourage and grow the self-esteem in yourself and others – you can discover the Holy Grail of Leadership. When you do, you are a far more successful (and satisfied) leader.

What will you do to develop and maintain the Holy Grail of leadership development – your self-esteem?

Please engage the discussion and let us know strategies you employ to develop and maintain your self-esteem. Feel free to contact me at,  stop by our website at or visit The Global LABBThe resource for leaders across boundaries & borders.


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Sheri is The Global Coach, founder of Luminosity Global Consulting Group, Global Executive Coach, Speaker, Writer and Global Business and Cultural Expert.

One response to The Holy Grail Of Authentic Leadership

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