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Bridging the Values Gap by Ellen R. Auster, R. Edward Freeman

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CHAPTER 2

Just Be Authentic: Not So Fast, Not So Easy

Former Medtronic CEO Bill George gives some sage advice in his best-selling book Authentic Leadership.1 He says that effective leadership is about being your true self—being authentic. Many leadership books presume that you can change leadership styles the way you can change your clothes, but most people know whether this is an act or a leader is being real. We can sense a mile away when people are faking it or pretending to be something they are not.

Being real and authentic to ourselves is what gets people to follow us. What does it mean to be authentic? The idea that we simply need to “walk the talk” is problematic. Sometimes we don’t know what the “talk” is and sometimes we don’t know ...

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