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Stuff Authentic People Say

Jack and Suzy Welch’s recent opinion piece in FORTUNE (April 9, 2012) shares three guidelines for how any leader can tap into and communicate their authentic self.

First, quoting the famous philosopher, Popeye, they site that you often hear authentic people give you some version of “I yam what I yam, and that’s all what I yam.”  Authentic people are deeply comfortable with themselves.  They acknowledge both their weakness and their strengths without apology.

Second, authentic people say “I love” a lot as in “I love March Madness.”  You name it, they are emoting about it.  They are also comfortable with “I hate…” as well.  Whether it comes to love or hate, authentic people go big.

Third, authentic people aren’t afraid to say, “I screwed up, and I’ve been down, and it was awful!”  Authentic people actually seem to relish describing mistakes in gritty detail.

The Welch’s commentary was focused on the need for politicians to be more honest, more transparent…and yes, more authentic.  While we all may debate whether or not these three guidelines really do describe what true authenticity means, I think we can agree that we benefit when leaders (or anyone for that matter) put their cards on the table – opinions, passions and perspectives.  This kind of transparency provides direction, engenders debate and makes way for better decision-making.