Paradox : Sometimes just being yourself is the worst thing to do

The Leadership versus Authenticity Paradox

The paradox of leadership versus authenticity. Doing what feels natural to you can seriously backfire especially when you move to new leadership role with new challenges.

Leadership Problem #1 : Feeling Fake versus Failing

  • Feeling fake versus failing: for example, humbleness & humility in a company where you had to sell yourself.
  • Authenticity isn’t about being rigid & unchanging and sticking with what feels safe. As we advances in our career, we all have to move out of our comfort zone.
  • Therefore, it would be a lot wiser if I view myself as a work in progress (WIP).
  • Using trial & error approach would or could serve as a useful tool to develop the best version of yourself.
  • Instead of applying your sense of self in holding you back, use it instead to move you forward.

Type of personality

  1. Chameleons

    • Adapt to surrounding without feeling fake
    • They typically advances more easily in their career
    • Cons: Often others thinks that they are fake.
  2.  True-to-Selfers

    • Stick to what they know
    • Would typically advocates on they technical know-how even where inappropriate.
    • Reluctant to changes.

Leadership Problem #2: Selling Yourself

A hard reality for some, which is also very true for me.

The problem is that, I would easily resort to detailing and laying the facts and figures rather than being inspirational through story telling approach. Inspirational story telling approach is the way to get buy in from your stakeholder, fact and figures would not inspire the same reaction.

Just as I found out, other’s would claim credit for my works through rephrasing it to make it more palatable in form of story telling. So, never again will I let this happen.


The trick in tackling this is seeing the bigger picture or bird eye view of the situation.

Insyallah, I will keep learning and improving myself on this.

Leadership Problem #3: Handling Feedback

  • The higher you climb, the more people can see your flaws.
  • The more people will scrutinize every step you take.


Tactics #1 : Adopt many diverse role model

  • select and emulate a cocktails of role models
  • chameleons faked it till they become it.

Tactics #2 : Set goals for learning

  • Set you learning goals
  • Approach your learning goals as a individual project

Tactics #3: Create a new story

  • create your new personal narrative or narratives as your defining moment
  • therefore, you need to re-check and re-evaluate your life defining moments, the moments which define your values and personalities.
  • Personal narrative would be a mixture of your past experience and your new challengers. 

As a conclusion . . .


” Small changes can make a big difference”


Categories: Personal Development


2 replies


  1. People problem in an organization – aarif billah
  2. How to communicate appreciate to a ‘difficult’ colleague? – aarif billah

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