Developing Authentic Leaders


One of the weaknesses of traditional leadership development is that it tends to take a cookie-cutter approach. Leaders are told what good leaders do, what characteristics they possess, and then they are taught to behave in that way. In essence, that’s learning from the outside in.

In this podcast from the OREA Centre for Leadership Development, Dr. Teal McAteer promotes a more transformative approach to leadership development; one that works from the inside out. It’s based on the theory that individuals learn best when they have a shakeup – a revelation on what needs to change within themselves.

That revelation occurs, Teal says, when leaders assess their ability to be authentic; when they take a look at information provided to them about themselves and they see what’s working and what they need to do to be more effective. This approach, she says, takes a look at the inside authentic person first and then builds on that. That assessment may be aided by tools developed by scientists and psychologists, often called personality tests. Teal’s preferred approach is 360° feedback. It starts with the question, How do I think I think and behave?  It then adds feedback from those who work for, with and above that person. This composite profile becomes a powerful tool for leaders.

Teal notes that for the past 3–4 years the public has been screaming for authenticity in their community, business and industry leaders. They want leaders with integrity; leaders who are who they say they are. Yet Teal finds that leaders, especially boards of directors, wait until they are dysfunctional before they take the initiative to develop their authentic leadership. She encourages boards work to develop synergy; to ensure that the sum of the parts is greater than the parts themselves. And she believes that a transformative approach to leadership development can help them achieve this.

Professor McAteer specializes in the areas of strategic human resource management, motivation, career planning and development, change and stress management. Her research interests include the relationship between stress and health; the importance of maintaining strong self-esteem and self-efficacy; change and stress management strategies. Teal has a Ph.D in Organizational Behaviour from the Faculty of Management and an M.I.R. from the Centre for Industrial Relations at the University of Toronto. She received her B.Comm. from the School of Business, Queen’s University.

Title: Developing Authentic Leaders
Featuring: Teal McAteer, Assoc. Professor, Degroote School of Business, McMaster University
Length: 7:24 minutes

Listen to the podcast.
Check out more podcasts from the OREA Centre for Leadership Development.


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