In this blog post, I explore the TU Professional Leadership for Program for Women‘s central foundation for effective leadership and share a pathway to discovering your own unique leadership power. In the TU program, the context for leadership power is not position; it is choice. The program leaders and participants invest in developing leadership as an individual quality, a strength, and a choice that each woman makes regardless of her position in the organization.

During the first session of this program, participants examine and share the core values that they have chosen to guide themselves, along with some key experiences that have shaped who they have each become as adults. Many express deep commitment to a core value of personal authenticity. While others may not use the word, their act of sharing their values and feelings paints a picture of their true self. This is a critical first step in leading with authenticity.

Being authentic means that you act in ways that show your true self and how you feel. Rather than showing people only a particular side of yourself, you express your whole self genuinely. That means to succeed in being authentic, you first have to know who your true self actually is. And this requires self-awarenessmindfulness, and self-acceptance.


The Leadership Choice Model reveals that in order to lead with authenticity, you must be clear about where your values, beliefs and vision intersect with those of your organization.

Here is a visual of the second activity worksheet:

There are three possibilities, which lead to three leadership choices:

  1. You may chart that your own values, beliefs and vision are very well-aligned with those of your organization.
    • MISSION: Drive the organization from your true self and how you feel.
    • CONSEQUENCE: Others will believe and want to follow you because your words and actions feel authentic, grounded and consistent.
  2. Perhaps you share some values, beliefs and vision with your organization, but see distinct areas where you differ.
    • MISSION: Focus on leading in those aspects of commonality—where your true voice resounds. You may also choose to influence other leaders and the culture of the organization toward the values and beliefs that you hold dear and are not currently visible at the organizational level.
    • CONSEQUENCE: People will know who you are and what powers your work and your leadership.
  3. You may struggle to find common commitment between you and the organization to the values and beliefs that are non-negotiable for you.
    • MISSION: Ask questions, probe and determine if those values and beliefs are there, but buried, and decide if you will lead the resuscitation.
    • CONSEQUENCE: Revive core values and behaviors that you can support, and lead, and/or perhaps find another place with more shared values and culture to make your professional home.

For more information about authentic leadership visit the TU Professional Leadership Program for Women website. There you will find participants from 2015 through 2020, including at least someone you may know. Feel free to reach out to any alumna about her perspectives on authentic leadership and how she is leading with her true self.