Authenticity Paradox

I always like to know how the person that I’m talking to over the phone, replying over email, the author of the book I’m reading, look like. For some reason, it helps me to connect better. So as I was having my breakfast earlier, I decided to google Professor Herminia Ibarra, the author of the book I wrote about yesterday.

I came across her Ted Talk. Watched it and loved it. She talks about how being authentic, i.e. be true to yourself may not necessarily be the recipe to be an effective leader. You have to act you way up and in the process, discover yourself and what kind of leader you are and want to be. It’s all about being playful and experimenting, and from there you will learn. It’s a process. Her point is that, sometimes being authentic is exactly what is hindering you from becoming what you aspire to be. The stubborn you are about it, the more you think you should be yourself, the less likely you will get there. As she said it many times in the video and in her book, “what got you here, won’t get you there”.

I like her approach and her thinking, not just because she has proven herself with her great credentials (Thinkers 50 ranks Ibarra among the most influential management thinkers in the world), but mainly because her old self was somewhat similar to the current version of myself – introvert, always focusing on delivering the content, numbers driven, theoretical, serious. So I’m going to try emulate her approach.

If you are interested, you can watch her Ted Talk here.



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