The Core of Leadership

In order to be an authentic leader, a person must have a clear set of moral or core values that guide aspirational focus. (Northouse, 2019). The moral and core values ground the leader and help maintain focus on the person he or she aspires to be. An individual must be self-reflective to determine what are the most appropriate values to aspire to so he or she can put forth his or her best. Since authentic leaders view leadership as a life-long developmental process, their external actions with the world should reflect the progression of their values over time. These values should often be revisited to ground the person in setting a personal vision, prioritizing actions, and inspiring others. The core values become the main ingredients of the personal vision which states the ideal future, or big picture, of how an individual will contribute to the world. Both the core values and the personal vision set the parameters of the leader’s inner compass. The level of commitment to the inner compass defines the leader’s ability to be disciplined and consistent through varying degrees of stress or outside pressures. This commitment frames the mental model which helps navigate the many situations a person encounters that require a decision (Bolman & Deal, 2017). The inner compass is essential to an authentic leader, specifically with decision-making through various circumstances. It is what shapes the adaptive leader. When your values are clear to you then they are clear to others. When they are clear to others, your team(s) have the opportunity to align to those values and vision and build on them.

Bolman, L., & Deal, T. (2017). Reframing organizations: Artistry, choice and leadership (6th ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Northouse, P. (2019). Leadership: Theory and practice. (8th ed.) Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publishers.