In this paper, we first develop the concepts of authentic leaders, authentic leadership, and authentic leader development. We suggest a definition of authentic leaders, which is based on the leader’s self-concept: his or her self-knowledge, self-concept clarity, self-concordance, and person-role merger, and on the extent to which the leader’s self-concept is expressed in his or her behavior. Following, we offer a life-story approach to the development of authentic leaders. We argue that authentic leadership rests heavily on the self-relevant meanings the leader attaches to his or her life experiences, and these meanings are captured in the leader’s life-story. We suggest that self-knowledge, self-concept clarity, and person-role merger are derived from the life-story. Therefore, the construction of a life-story is a major element in the development of authentic leaders. We further argue that the life-story provides followers with a major source of information on which to base their judgments about the leader’s authenticity. We conclude by drawing some practical implications from this approach and presenting suggestions for further research.
Shamir, B. and Eilam-Shamir, G. (2018), "“What’s Your Story?” A Life-Stories Approach to Authentic Leadership Development", Katz, I., Eilam-Shamir, G., Kark, R. and Berson, Y. (Ed.) Leadership Now: Reflections on the Legacy of Boas Shamir (Monographs in Leadership and Management, Vol. 9), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 51-76. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1479-357120180000009017
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