Authentic Leadership Theory: Exemplifying Self-Awareness, Character and Transparency in Nursing Leadership

  • Nithya Hilson
Keywords: authentic leadership, nursing leadership, autheniticity, supportive work environments, interprofessional collaboration


According to Sagnak and Kuruoz (2017) authenticity is established when one maintains their intrinsic values and beliefs in all aspects of their life, therefore their values, beliefs, attitudes and self-identity shapes their actions.Authentic leadership encompasses four areas. These include, self-awareness which is understanding one’s strengths, limitations, and values and how they affect others (Azanza, Moriano, & Molero, 2013). Balanced processing, which encourages analyzing all relevant information from differing views before making a decision (Azanza et. al., 2013). Relational transparency which is openly sharing the authentic self by sharing knowledge, displaying openness with true thoughts, feelings, and trust (Sagnak & Kuruoz, 2017). Finally, internalized moral perspective, which is self-regulation by guiding actions with moral standards and values (Sagnak & Kuruoz, 2017) (Azanza et. al., 2013). Studies have shown that authentic leadership is positively associated with increased employee job performance, increased job satisfaction, and improved work engagement through honest and transparent relationships with employees (Azanza et. al., 2013). Authentic leaders display fairness, justice, empathy, respect, trustworthiness, reliability, and believability (Waite, McKinney, Smith-Glasgow, & Meloy, 2014). For this paper I will research into the background and history of authentic leadership theory, provide an in depth analysis and explanation of the concepts of authentic leadership, and finally include an application regarding relevance to nursing leadership and personal practice.