The Secret to Authentic Leadership

Watch as leadership coach Susanne Madsen explains how authentic leadership can help you align your project thoughts and actions. Part of our leadership training series.

Here’s a shot of the whiteboard for your reference!

how can you be an authentic leader

In Review – The Secret to Authentic Leadership:

Being authentic when it comes to leadership is the alignment between what you say, do, feel and think when managing a project, said Susanne.

Basically, she suggested finding a way to have your head and your heart share what your hands and your mouth are doing. It sounds like a tall order and even more difficult in the compromised environment of business. But there are ways to direct yourself towards meeting this goal.

Susanne recommended these six guidelines to build an authentic leadership style.

  1. Find your calling to lead
  2. Follow your passion
  3. Ensure concurrence between personal and project values
  4. Resolve client conflicts
  5. Keep your promises, even when under pressure
  6. Be the best version of yourself

It’s not an easy road to tread, but the results in your happiness and the success of the project will more than make up for the hard work.

Pro-Tip: Being authentic means being true to yourself, and you may not be the typical extraverted leader. Maybe you’re shy, and because of that never thought of yourself as having leadership qualities. But introverts make great leaders. It’s more important to be authentic than to conform to what you think is expected.

Thanks for watching!


Hi, I’m Susanne Madsen. Welcome to this whiteboard session on The Secret to Authentic Leadership.

When you’re being authentic, it means that there is alignment between what you think with your head, what you feel with your heart, what you say with your mouth, and what you do with your hand. And you will know when there is alignment because it feels great. You recognize it, sometimes, when there is no alignment.

For instance, you do one thing because that may be asked of you, but on the inside, you really think something different and feel something different. In that case you’re not being authentic.

You will also recognize it from organizational managers. They may say one thing and do something different. That’s also not authentic leadership. You need to make sure that there is alignment all the way around, and one of the best ways to make sure that you are aligned is to find your calling to lead and to follow your passion.

My own calling to lead comes from an experience I had in 2008. I attended my first leadership course and I was coached for the first time, and my epiphany was that project managers needed leadership. On that basis, I wrote my first book and I began to coach project managers in parallel with my job, and now I do this full-time. I help managers become leaders. So, today, there is full alignment for me.

So what is your passion? What is the industry that you would like to work in? What are the projects that really align with how you feel? So make sure that there is alignment between your personal values and your project values. That’s a great way to ensure that you can be authentic.

You also need, of course, to keep your promises. Do what you say you’re going to do, also when the pressure is on, and of course, be the best version of you.

Thank you for watching. Please visit us again at

Related Posts

  • How can you track your progress as a leader? Jennifer Bridges, PMP, shows you how to set up leadership…

  • Is leadership something you're born with or can it be taught? It's an interesting question, but one that you…

  • Leadership is a combination of innate and learned traits. That's why great leaders are always pushing themselves to continuously…

Back to Blog

Get the Best PM Tools for Your Team

Start a Free Trial