Problems and Challenges That Can Arise With Authentic Leadership

Problems With Authentic Leadership

Authentic leadership has gained popularity in recent years as a desirable leadership style among organizations. The concept revolves around leaders being transparent, honest, and genuine in their interactions with their team members.

However, while there are benefits to authentic leadership, there are also potential problems that leaders must be aware of.

In this article, we explore some of the problems and challenges that can arise with authentic leadership.

The Risk of Oversharing

Authentic leaders are known for being transparent and candid with their team members. However, there is a fine line between being transparent and oversharing personal information. Authentic leaders need to recognize that not all information should be shared. Oversharing personal details can lead to a loss of respect and create an uncomfortable environment for team members.

The Danger of Overreliance on Emotions

Authentic leadership emphasizes the importance of being in tune with your emotions and responding honestly to situations. However, emotions should never overrule sound judgment. Being too caught up in feelings can lead to rash decisions that may not always be in the best interest of the organization or team members.

Upholding Professionalism

Authentic leadership may blur the line between the personal and the professional. While it is important to build strong relationships with team members, it is equally important for leaders to uphold professional boundaries. Being too familiar with team members can create an inappropriate dynamic and affect decision-making. Leaders must find a balance between being authentic and maintaining a professional distance.

Creating a Culture of Blame

Authentic leaders take ownership of their mistakes and promote accountability. However, when mistakes occur, it can be easy to fall into a culture of blame. Authentic leaders must ensure that the blame game does not take over when mistakes happen. Instead, authentic leaders should encourage learning and growth.

Vulnerability and Self-Disclosure

Finally, vulnerability and self-disclosure are integral elements of authentic leadership. However, leaders must be cautious not to appear weak or undermine their authority when being open about their vulnerabilities. Authentic leaders need to be aware of their positioning and ensure that vulnerability does not lead to a loss of authority.


Authentic leadership champions transparency and vulnerability, yet it requires a delicate balance to avoid potential pitfalls. Oversharing risks respect, emotions mustn’t overshadow judgment, and maintaining professionalism while building relationships is crucial. Additionally, owning mistakes shouldn’t foster a culture of blame, and vulnerability shouldn’t undermine authority. Navigating these nuances is key to wielding authentic leadership effectively, fostering trust without compromising leadership strength.

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Paul Tomaszewski is a science & tech writer as well as a programmer and entrepreneur. He is the founder and editor-in-chief of CosmoBC. He has a degree in computer science from John Abbott College, a bachelor's degree in technology from the Memorial University of Newfoundland, and completed some business and economics classes at Concordia University in Montreal. While in college he was the vice-president of the Astronomy Club. In his spare time he is an amateur astronomer and enjoys reading or watching science-fiction. You can follow him on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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