In today’s turbulent economic and political climate, it seems that we are becoming dissatisfied and disillusioned with corporate leaders. A recent global survey by Kenexa® reports that only 38 percent of employees rate their leaders as effective. This is a shocking statistic that paints a bleak picture of leaders. However, it is even more worrying when our research also shows that employee engagement is actually five times higher for those employees who believe their leaders are effective, compared to those who say they follow neutral or ineffective leaders.
This loss of faith in contemporary leaders has propelled researchers and practitioners to take a fresh look at the state of leadership theory and development, bringing about a renewed interest in the concept of authentic leadership.
In the quest for authentic leaders, Bill George (2003), a former corporate head himself, issued a statement: "Wanted—authentic leaders...we need leaders who lead with purpose, values and integrity; leaders who build enduring organizations, motivate their employees to provide superior customer service and create long-term value for shareholders." Rob Goffee and Gareth Jones started in 2001 by asking executives a single question, "Why should anyone be led by you?" This simple question without fail silenced rooms of executives, however, it started a fascinating debate and research into authentic leadership.