Who Are Authentic Leaders

Business is a frame of mind game; your philosophy on what you do for your organization is the starting point of your journey. As you move through your career you’ll likely encounter people who are authentic leaders and can help to shape how you think.

Your philosophy may evolve as the business landscape changes, the industry changes, or the market changes, but your non-negotiable core values cannot change. 

I’m going to talk about the difference between the expectation of effort and the expectation of accomplishment and why sometimes we lose sight of our end goal. Because one thing I’ve learned is that, even when we’re deep in the grind of building a business to match our vision, is don’t let what you can’t do get in the way of what you can do. 

In athletics and business, it really boils down to how badly you want to be great? You’ll often hear me talk about how success is a choice and how important it is for you to have a clearly laid out definition of success for yourself. I also want to touch on the significance of a growth mindset and why as a leader, you need to commit to continual growth and the experience of learning as a lifelong experience. 

Whether it is in your business world, or for your family, and your own satisfaction, it is so significant for individuals who are authentic leaders to pay attention and be intentional about what they are feeding their minds on a daily basis.

Authentic Leaders


When you have a particular belief system and a certain mindset, resilience is usually a massive component of your makeup. 

Going back to basketball as a metaphor, we need to remember that as players change, as situations change, as the game changes, it is critical to use your foundational beliefs as a touchstone. 

As authentic leaders, we understand the word coaching in the same way we understand teacher, counselor, decision-maker, or problem solver, because we wear so many hats in our organization. 

When you’re dealing with all of the outside influences that your team faces in their professional lives and personal lives, it can be challenging to convince them to stay the course if you can’t inspire them. And I think that it all goes back to your philosophy — you have to have a philosophy that stands the test of time. It’s going to change and evolve, of course, but the core values are constant. 

Being an authentic leader is all about being true to yourself and to your people. Treat everybody the same way, with respect and dignity, and try to understand what they’re going through. You can’t coach everyone the same way because personalities are different, skills are different, experiences are different. But you can treat them all the same, to engage them with the company’s goal and encourage them on their journey. 


Leaders are Learners 


As I said in the introduction, I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to invest in your personal growth continually. Learning is a lifelong experience — and if you stop learning your trade, stop developing your business skills, or how to improve your coaching, then you stagnate. You stop authentically living your purpose, and instead of moving forward, you’re just running in place.

Whenever you’re exchanging ideas or listening to somebody else’s ideas, then you can recall the best course of action with the letters: RRAA. 

  • Recognize
  • Relate
  • Assimilate
  • Act upon. 

To elaborate a little, this mnemonic is one of the best ways I know to recall how I should process learning opportunities. We need to recognize the idea, recognize the theory, recognize the drill, recognize what the person is trying to convey. Then we relate it to our situation, ask ourselves how does this fit into what I’m doing? Or how can it help me do what I’m doing better? When we assimilate the new information, we break it down and put it back together in our own terms and words.  And then, at some point in the future, when it fits your situation and the moment arises, act upon it. 

When you are an authentic leader, you are always looking for golden nuggets of insight and information to take back to your team. To get your team past good or even great to elite level, you need to have the desire to get there and make the right choices that get you on the right pathways. 

If you’d like to learn more about the significance of a growth mindset and why people who are authentic leaders should prioritize lifelong learning, you can continue to enjoy our blog posts. You can also head over to the podcast The Athletics of Business when I discuss all aspects of leadership with a variety of insightful guests.


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