Authenticity means being true to character and true to oneself; not living through false emotions that hide the real you. Authentic leaders know and live their values and they win people's trust by being who they are, not by living up to others' expectations. Gaining the trust of a team is essential in creating a following.
The key to becoming an authentic leader, according to Bill George, author of ‘Authentic Leadership’, is "...to learn how to lead yourself...it's not about competencies and skills." Paying attention to one's inner leadership or self-mastery is crucial to becoming an authentic leader.
Other authors have built on Bill George's ideas. Nick Craig, co-author with Bill George of the book, Defining Your True North, lists four elements of authentic leadership: Being true to yourself, being motivated by a larger purpose, making decisions which fit your values and achieving long-term, sustainable results.
George, Bill. (2003). Authentic Leadership. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2003. Print.
George, Bill, Andrew N McLean, and Nick Craig. (2008) Finding Your True North. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2008. Print.