Eliminate Your Authenticity Filters

Leading is learning. Not so much learning how to do the things we refer to as “leadership” — giving direction, managing accountabilities, and motivating others — but rather, learning who you are and how to bring the best of yourself to moments of influence with others.

Many of us feel at times as if we are impersonating a leader rather than working out what it means to be ourselves in a position of leadership. Instead of covering up those underdeveloped areas, great leaders learn how to operate as they truly are.

Take now-retired host of The Daily Show Jon Stewart. His story about the early years of his career offers a lighthearted but incisive description of what happens when you take a learner’s mind and experiment with the connection between who you are and what you aspire to do: “Sunday night through Thursday night it was me and drunk Dutch tourists in a basement in the Village…. I went on every night and I learned the difference between impersonating a comedian and being a comedian. And that was my break. [It] was learning how to be authentic. Not to the audience but to myself.”