Leaders striving to become more authentic are often faced with a thorny challenge: if they operate outside their natural state in day-to-day situations, are they being “fake”? For instance, if a naturally introverted leader pushes himself to be interactive and open with his team members, does that mean that he’s selling out, faking it, and sacrificing a basic piece of himself?

The art of authentic leadership is not all or nothing. Instead of “I am what I am,” it’s more like “I am what I choose.” Or better yet “I am what I am AND I am what I choose.”  Our thinking about human authenticity is too often limited to black and white either, or thinking that is better suited to analyzing the authenticity of a purse, painting, or watch.  Let’s look at an example.

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