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It’s Time to Get Real

Generally by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out, and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.
The Velveteen Rabbit (Williams, 1958)

“People want to be led by someone ‘real,’ write Rob Goffee and Gareth Jones in the Harvard Business Review.

“This is partly a reaction to the turbulent times we live in. It is also a response to the public’s widespread disenchantment with politicians and businesspeople. We all suspect that we’re being duped.
Our growing dissatisfaction with sleek, ersatz, airbrushed leadership is what makes authenticity such a desirable quality…Leaders and followers both associate authenticity with sincerity, honesty, and integrity.”

“Heart-centered leaders no longer try to cover up their ‘realness’ for fear of what others will think,” writes Nancy Rosenow in Art of Leadership: Leading Early Childhood Organizations. “They learn to stop judging any parts of themselves as ‘ugly.’ They move to a place of greater acceptance and love for themselves first, and then for everyone else in their lives.

That all sounds good, but wow, it’s not easy. It’s a process, not an event.

It was a revelation to me a few years back when I finally understood that the judgments I feared the most weren’t from others, but from myself…My greatest fear was that others would ‘find out’ about my flaws and come to the same conclusion I had – that I may not be worthy enough, perfect enough or good enough to be an effective leader. The irony is that the fear of facing my ‘realness’ kept me from creating the most real relationship with others. I wasn’t able to lead as effectively because my fears got in the way. Only when I began to risk revealing all of me was I able to move into a place where my leadership became more loving, collaborative, and yes, effective.”

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