Return to Previous Page

Leadership and Authenticity

ET Cases, 4 pages
AUTHOR(S) : Deepti Nair and Dr. Nagendra V. Chowdary

Case Preview

Leadership and Authenticity


Expected Learning Outcomes

• Authenticity as a leadership trait
• Establishing and managing authenticity
• Building an influential character and the role of authenticity



Authenticity as a Leadership Trait

1. From the following corporate brands and individual brands, which according to you would qualify to be termed as authentic brands (Exhibit I)- ..........

2. What parameters did you take into account while identifying which brands qualify as being authentic, from the corporate and individual brands listed? Using this  identification as a basis, how would you define authenticity?..........

Establishing and Mastering Authenticity: Practising Platforms

1. “No one can be authentic by trying to imitate someone else. You can learn from others’ experiences, but there is no way you can be successful when you are trying to be like them.”1 Do you agree with this statement? Validate your response.

2. The author in the accompanying article is of the view that, “...great leaders tend to their selfware – the program of thoughts... no other resource more powerful than our authentic story”. What is the role of self-awareness in creating authentic leaders?

3. .............

Building an Influential Character and the Role of Authenticity

1. According to you, can authenticity, as a quality, be developed? Justify your stand.

2. “Everyone acknowledges and understands the need for consistency when establishing authenticity, but a great leader does a lot more than just pay lip service to it.”3 In the wake of this statement how would you define consistency? How important is it to be ‘consistent’ in order to be an authentic leader? How does one ensure consistency as an authentic leader?

3. ............


Exhibit I: Authenticity Matrix

Teaching Note Preview

Leadership and Authenticity



This case flyer focuses on the growing need for authenticity as a quality and the increasing demand for authentic leaders. It deliberates on the various traits of authentic leaders and highlights the various ways in which authenticity can be established and managed. Can B-schools and companies play a role in developing authenticity as a quality? The article showcases how self-awareness and an unfettered expression of the real self are vital components of authentic leadership. What is the relationship between authenticity and trust-building? Can authenticity as a quality be developed? The ability to influence others has often been regarded as mark of an effective leader. Is there a relationship between authentic leadership and the power to influence others? Can authentic leaders be genuine influencers?

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • • Authenticity as a leadership trait
  • • Establishing and managing authenticity
  • • Building an influential character and the role of authenticity


Positioning and Setting

This case flyer can be used in the following course:

  • a) Organizational Behavior – Authentic Leadership – how to establish and manage authenticity and its importance in building effective leaders.


Suggested Orchestration

Before the Case Flyer Discussion in the Classroom

a) The students were asked to study ‘The Best Global Brands 2013’ by Interbrand and the ‘Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands 2013’ by Millward Brown and analyze the similarities and dissimilarities in the rankings. Based on their analysis, students were asked to broadly identify the parameters which might have been taken into account while ranking these brands. This simple exercise would encourage students to ruminate about how rankings are awarded and what parameters are taken into account while ranking one brand over the other.

b) Students were also asked to read the following articles “Discovering your Authentic Leadership” and “Managing Authenticity”.

c) Both these articles gave an insight into the traits of authentic leaders and helped debate on whether authenticity as a quality can be developed.

d) Most importantly, prior to the actual classroom discussion, the students were encouraged to analyze all the questions given in the case flyer (either individually or in learning teams or in appropriate discussion forums) to enable them to participate effectively and to enrich the learning outcomes.

During the Case Flyer Discussion in the Classroom

This case flyer can effectively be discussed in the classroom under three broad topics.


The flow of questions to be discussed in the classroom has been elaborated in Annexure (TN)-I: The Board Plan

I. Authenticity as a Leadership Trait

The discussion commenced by asking students to refer to the list of brands, individual and corporate, mentioned in the case flyer and to analyze which of them qualified to be termed as authentic. Students were asked to refer to the global brand indices and the Harvard Business Review articles for the same. This section was analyzed using the following matrix Exhibit (TN)-I................


Exhibit (TN)-I: Authenticity Matrix

Exhibit (TN)-II: Ingredients of Authentic Leadership


Annexure (TN)-I: Board Plan

Rs 0
Product code: OB-4-0004, OB-4-0004A


This case flyer and the accompanying article1 enables a discussion on the long researched concept of leadership and the role of authenticity in creating influential leaders. It provides a platform to debate on whether authenticity is an innate value or can it be developed? In a world, where airbrushed and ersatz leadership styles are no longer welcome, authenticity has emerged as a much sought after quality. Leaders, in general, and business leaders in particular, are expected to put forth their authentic and real self. This, however, is by no means an easy feat to attain. What are the reasons behind the growing popularity of authentic leaders? How does self-awareness help in nurturing authenticity? Imitating or copying a successful leadership style does not qualify as authentic leadership. Is it possible to nurture authenticity as a quality?

Pedagogical Objectives

  • To understand authenticity as a leadership trait
  • To discuss how authenticity can be practiced and mastered
  • To debate on the relationship between the power to influence and authentic leadership

1 Sudhanshu Palsule, 'Mastery in Sport, Leadership Comes With Authenticity' The Economic Times, December 17th 2013

This Case Pack Includes:
 - Abstract
- Case Flyer
- Analysis

**Electronic downloadable links (PDFs, PPTs, Supplements etc.) are available immediately after purchase. Please use Indian Currency Option (INR) when you are Making Payment within India. "No. of Copies" reflects the number of permissions you intend to use in Classroom Discussions / Corporate Trainings.

No. of Copies
Rs 0

Related products

Request for an Inspection Copy

(Strictly for Review Purpose, Not to be Used for Classroom Discussion/Trainings)