Wanted: Authentic Women Leaders to Lead in a VUCA World

By Mary Jean Vignone on Mar 02, 2021 in Women Leadership, Leadership Coaching For Women


We live in VUCA times, Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity, with the Pandemic, racial inequality, political divisions, and climate change. The present situation calls for leaders at all levels of our society to help address these complex problems. Traditional ways of leading do not prepare leaders to work with the challenges VUCA brings. I advocate for authentic leaders, especially women leaders, guided by a sense of purpose and values to show up to have positive impacts on all these fronts.

The word "authentic" is used quite often and may mean something different to each of us.  Authentic leadership has some definite descriptions of how leaders present themselves to lead and influence others. You can find lots of literature describing authentic leadership (Avolio & Gardner, 2005) and how we can use the theories in our everyday lives (Covelli & Mason, 2017). In essence, authentic leaders know who they are, their strengths, and stay true to themselves. Their values guide their actions and connections with others.

Often, we as women give up our authenticity to blend into a more masculine environment, and our voices are not heard as readily as our male counterparts. Women are criticized for being too pushy or ambitious, yet those qualities are admired in men. As women, we must show up as our true selves to shift our organizations' cultures to celebrate diversity and equity. We need to own our voices, speak with confidence, and stand in our feminine power.

I expanded on authentic leadership theories and developed seven attributes to identify who are Authentic Women Leaders:

  • Self-awareness- a deep awareness of who we are as women
  • Inner Compass- true to our values, purpose, and beliefs
  • Feminine Power- the unique qualities we bring to the forefront as women to have our voices heard
  • Openness –transparent about who we are with others and open to others' opinions and ideas
  • Trustworthy Relationships- build trust with each other, our teams, and our organizations to create a sense of collaboration and community
  • Inclusive- create environments of inclusion by welcoming the diversity of thought, race, ethnicity, and genders
  • Emotional Intelligence – committed to develop emotional intelligence to support all the attributes

Stay tuned!  For the next seven weeks, I will post more information about each of these seven attributes to help you find your Power of Authenticity

Avolio, B. J. & Gardner, William L. (2005). Authentic leadership development: Getting to the root of positive forms of leadership. The Leadership Quarterly, 16(3), 315–338.

Covelli, B. J., & Mason, I. (2017). Linking Theory to Practice: Authentic Leadership. Academy of Strategic Management Journal; Arden, 16(3), 1–10.

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