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The Authentic Leadership Legacy: Learning from a Simple Handshake

"Authenticity is the alignment of head, mouth, heart, and feet - thinking, saying, feeling, and doing the same thing - consistently. This builds trust, and followers love leaders they can trust." – John Maxwell
profile of two men shaking hands

My grandfather was a farmer. I can recall when he conducted business with another farmer in our community. After a brief moment of bargaining, they smiled, shook

hands, and went on their way. I asked my father about his later, and he smiled and said, "Son, that handshake wasn't just a greeting. It was a promise. A promise that both would stand by their words."

This memory of my grandfather, that embodiment of genuine leadership, still resonates with me. He wasn't just a man of words; he was a man of action. In him, I found what it means to be an authentic leader. His life wasn't just a series of events but a masterclass in leadership for me.

The key? Trust comes through consistency. As I journeyed through life, I realized that while we can aspire to be trustworthy, trust erodes if there's a mismatch between what we say and what we do. It's a foundation painstakingly built over time, yet worth every second.

As I navigate my leadership, I frequently pause and reflect: "Are my words a mirror of my actions?" I extend this question to my inner circle, which holds me accountable. This introspection, this reflection, is the compass that helps gauge the authenticity of our leadership.

This week, I challenge you: Take a moment. Reflect. Are you being the leader you'd follow? If yes, keep the momentum going. If not, remember that every day is an opportunity to realign, rebuild, and make that handshake count.

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