1. The main theme of the book is the focus on the central idea that the personal character of a leader is above all positions or power. The book emphasizes that a leader must win its followers by its own virtue. He should be a role model, rather than a forceful person to lead his followers. The personal attributes may vary, but the leader must utilize these to make others obey his command. “Authentic Leader” is a term coined by David Irvine and Jim Reger to define the leader who leads by the strength of his characters.” Is he for real?” is the question which is frankly asked regarding a person occasionally. The question in its essence means how trustworthy is the integrity of the person who has been provided a position of power or who is preaching a certain belief. Does he also practice those beliefs? According to Irvine and Roger, the guy “who is for real” is an authentic leader. (REGER, 2000) Authors have banked on the wisdom and experience of more than 40 authentic leaders. These leaders include Sports Captains, coaches, C.E.O’s and even parents. All these leaders have provided examples by their own personal virtues and characters. The book is not only inspiring but also guides towards effective leadership. The book is the answer to those who failed being leaders and were unable to motivate their followers.
2. Application of the ideas presented in the book at my workplace is not only desired but highly required too. (Reger, 2012) Workplace could be one of the most perfect places where such ideas could be implemented and experimented. The authors emphasize on personal traits to achieve superior results. This could be practiced at workplace in a number of ways.
If I am the manager and I have a team to lead, the application of ideas mentioned is crucial. At first, my personal efforts should be so extraordinary that no one is able to raise a finger on my performance. It should be flawless and according to the corporate requirement. Once I am done with my own performance, I would have confidence and moral right, to guide my subordinates. Having worked on my personal character initially, I have emerged as a man of principal. Being a manager, this enables me to principal others. (Neumark, 2014)
If I am a subordinate, the ideas still have significant importance. If I build on my personal characteristics and have made sure, my performance is impeccable I could be a role model to my teammates. This would further give strength to me at work place. Furthermore, it would also enable me to be the unofficial leader where one guides through his virtues. If I focus on my integrity and immaculate performance, praise and other positive attitudes would also be experienced from my co-workers and superiors.
3. This book is all about empowerment and self-realization. The book emphasizes the reader to listen to its inner soul and act accordingly. As mentioned earlier, David Irvine and Jim Reger have explained in this book their experiences which span on years of their efforts and determination towards leadership training and coaching of corporate managers. This book is specifically purposeful for working class as the authors had years of relation with workers of different cultures and age groups. This phenomenon makes this book the most preferred choice for those who are seeking guidelines towards self-empowerment. Another aspect is that of spirituality. Spirituality is something which cannot be determined with an exact hard and fast rule. Everyone perceives spirituality according to their culture and beliefs and act accordingly. For this reason, I may not agree with the notion of spirituality as mentioned in the book. But there remains no doubt that the authors have outstandingly incorporated spirituality to sense of belonging. The belonging is to one’s own self, and that’s exactly the crux of this literature. The process could be divided into steps which start from self-realization of the fact that the personal attributes must be so culturally, philosophically and professionally refined that others should feel no hesitation in following us. In the next step, the authority is manifested not by position or power but by the virtues of a leader. In the third step, the study of real life examples would help to identify the method by which other authentic leaders could make their way in the authentic leadership.
4. Such messages require that I should be made every effort to make sure that the notions of authentic leadership are followed by me and I provide an atmosphere at my workplace that enables my co-workers and subordinates to independently identify my efforts, level of characteristic, integrity and sense of responsibility. (Irvine & Reger, 2009) How else, they would be able to judge me by my virtue and characteristics. Authentic leadership is a concept which can only be practiced if certain perquisites are followed. These perquisites belong to persons own efforts to raise the integrity. As more focus is put on developing personal attributes, better would be the results. Even best would be the outcome, when I am ready to lead my subordinates. They would not only be inspired but would find it obligatory on themselves that they have to follow my guidelines. Even if I am a worker I would stand on moral grounds to talk to my superiors. To achieve this I first have to make my own performance so phenomenal that no one is able to pick any fault from it. This is what the idea of authentic leadership requires of me. Leading via personal virtues. So whether I am a manager or a worker, the authentic leadership’s perquisites are compulsory to follow and oblige. (Irvine, 2004)
5. Whether the theme relates to global business environment or not is a matter of personal choice. Some may prefer to use all means that are necessary to expand the business, revenue and profits. Such concepts emphasize that ethics and business are two separate phenomena. Business should take every effort that is necessary to make it stronger and prosper. The book takes a 360-degree turn and proposes a completely opposite view. The book emphasizes whether it is an individual or business; personal attributes and characters are larger than any position or power. The effectiveness of the idea can be proven from real life examples of those businesses that operated on personal integrity and those that did not. Integral business is one which does ethical business and makes sure that its operations and decisions do not hurt the right of others. Although it is highly strenuous and arduous to be ethical and profitable at the same time, but examples have shown that in the longer run, ethical businesses survive greater than self-assured business. Whether it is Enron, Adelphia Communications or Bayou Hedge fund group, how enormous or giant their operations were, the businesses became one of the largest corporate failures in the history, as integrity was not the chapter of their corporate rules. It is not that ethical businesses don’t fail, but its tendency and variance is a lot less than businesses without integrity.
6. I would surely recommend this book to other writers and managers. This is because the book will provide them guidelines with real life examples that how they can improve their performance and leadership abilities by working on their own personal characteristics. The book is particularly important for those who are at crossroads in their career. Many of the times, the troubles that surround us in our career or at our workplace are mostly due to our own negligence or miss conducts. Occasionally conflicts can be avoided if we are ready to move one step back. Compromising and understanding others situation are one of the vital requirements of conflict resolution. This book could prove to be an outstanding resource to understand these issues. The book inspires its readers to listen to their heart. Hence, managers and other workers would also receive great inspiration and could find a way to resolve their conflicts and issues. Another reason why I recommend this book is that the book is provides a number of stories where people were able to stand above their problems. These problems are grave and are faced by managers and workers on a regular basis. The real life examples would make them understand that they are not alone who are facing difficulties but these are faced by all managers, and workers and dedication and integrity is the key to our career and life problems.
Irvine, D. (2004). Simple is living in a complex world. [Etobicoke, Ont.]: John Wiley & Sons Canada Ltd.
Irvine, D., & Reger, J. (2009). Bridges of trust. Sanford, FL: DC Press.
Neumark, D. (2014). Employment effects of minimum wages. IZAWOL. doi:10.15185/izawol.6
Reger, J. (2012). Higher purpose. [S.l.]: Trafford On Demand Pub.
REGER, J. (2000). Book Reviews. Gender & Society, 14(2), 350-351. doi:10.1177/089124300014002008