CEO BrainFood

003 Authentic Leadership

Episode Summary

Welcome to CEO Brain Food, a show aimed at providing key insights, fresh perspectives, and proven tools that CEOs can apply to build enterprise value, generate higher profits and develop the talent needed to succeed in their businesses. In this episode of CEO Brain Food, Michael breaks down the importance of authentic leadership within organizations. Michael provides specific examples of both current and historic authentic leaders, including Lee Iacocca, Tony Hsieh, and Bill George. Michael lists the nine key factors of authentic leadership, from clearing out unethical behavior to the importance of following your passion. Finally, Michael speaks to the value of mentorship, and encourages the audience to both seek out and act as a mentor at some point in life.

Episode Notes

01:06 – Introducing today’s topic, Authentic Leadership
02:29 – The need to reinforce the value of leadership
05:04 – The role trust plays in effective leadership
06:08 – How leadership can be taught
07:46 – Michael defines Authentic Leadership
08:31 – Modern examples of authentic leaders
10:20 – Michael identifies Bill George as a model of authentic leadership
11:54 – Understanding your core values
13:39 – Tony Hsieh and Zappos
14:33 – Additional resources for leaders looking to improve their skills
16:18 – The importance of body language
16:59 – Cleaning out any unethical behavior
18:14 – Removing perks
20:14 – Leading and living the core values and the purpose of the company
20:47 – Being authentic
23:39 – Finding your purpose
24:57 – Learning to follow your passion
25:59 – The value of having a mentor who can teach you
27:35 – Michael teases the topic of the next episode of CEO Brain Food


“I look back in history and it seems like there’s a frequency. Like, every eight or ten years some major group of companies at the top level have a struggle in this area.” (03:15)

“Trust, as they say, takes a lifetime to build and a minute to destroy.” (05:43)

“I think that leadership can be taught. I think it can be modeled. I think it can be mentored. I think it can be broken down into some very basic parts.” (07:28)

“That’s why I say authentic leadership I think is the one type of leader that is gonna get followed.” (07:46)

“Your body language is everything. And that’s true whether you’re running a five person company or a fifty-thousand person company.” (16:37)

“There’s nothing worse than an executive that has their door closed all day long.” (19:51)

“To me, culture is defined by core values, purpose, and your vision of the company.” (20:24)

“It’s very important to find your purpose in life and your purpose for being in the company. If you don’t know what that is, you’re going to be wandering through life.” (23:48)

“Seek a new name, a higher level than you are in life, and go introduce yourself to that person and ask them to mentor you. That means you have to humble yourself a bit and put your ego aside, because yes you do have room to grow.” (26:22)


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