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Jerry White: Thoughts on Authentic Leadership


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The Audience of One

George Balanchine was the famous director of the New York City Ballet. Those who danced said they would have thunderous applause and accolades, but they did not feel good unless Balanchine was pleased. They played for an audience of one.

The authentic leader also plays for an audience of one – God.

“Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.”

~ Psalm 73:25

“Not to us, O Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory.”

~ Psalm 115:1

Nothing takes away from authenticity more than self-centered ego and pride. At a recent CLA Conference CEO gathering, a young leader asked me what I thought was the major problem in leadership. I replied, “Ego and pride.” He pointed to the group in the room and asked, “With these people?” I said, “No. In myself.” I wrestle with it daily. And daily I am convicted. But like the carnival “whack-a-mole” it keeps rearing its ugly head in my life.

Authentic leadership always points away from self and to God – not in words, but in what people see in us as we live and lead.

Dr. Jerry White is the President Emeritus, and Chairman Emeritus U.S. Board, The Navigators. This is an excerpt from Outcomes Magazine – Spring 2013

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