'It’s to help people recreate their futures'

Psychologist Dr Fiona Beddoes-Jones is hosting a British Psychological Society webinar on 3 September on authentic leadership from 10am to 12pm. Ella Rhodes asked her about it.

What will your webinar cover?

We’re going to be exploring Authentic Leadership. What it is, the historical and modern desire for it in our leaders, its benefits for individuals and organisations, how it can be developed, the things that can derail it and how we can develop it in ourselves so that we are being our best selves and supporting others to do the same.

How did you first become interested in this area?

I don’t quite remember! It seemed to creep up on me! As a psychologist I have always been fascinated by people; how they think and behave, and as an occupational psychologist I’ve always been fascinated by teamwork and leadership and how so many leaders seem to manage to get it so wrong! When I came upon the term Authentic Leadership and recognised the way it combines our psychological selves with our philosophical selves, I was hooked. I did some self-development work in my twenties and I eventually worked out my Purpose in life when I was 27. It’s to help people recreate their futures in a safe and supportive environment. Authentic Leadership helps people to do that. So my work is like throwing small pebbles onto a pond; the overlapping rings influence and support people I will never meet and I love that idea.

What still needs to change in this area?

For me, the change needs to be in both leaders’ and organisations’ understanding around three key things: firstly, we are always role models for others; what we do, we give other people permission to do. Secondly, there is an enormous difference between leaders who are authentic (little a, little l) and Authentic Leaders. Donald Trump was the former and Jacinda Ardern and Barak Obama are the latter. Finally, Authentic Leaders and Authentic Leadership are the only things that are going to save our planet and everything on it at both local and global levels.  

Could you tell us something that might surprise someone not familiar with this area of work?

Yes. I would like to share two things: firstly that Authentic Leadership is an ‘umbrella’ concept. By which I mean that all other positive forms of leadership style sit underneath it; whether that’s styles such as Transformational, Compassionate, Distributed, Agile, Situational, Distributed, Democratic, Servant or Relational Leadership for example. Secondly, there’s evidence to suggest that Authentic Leaders live longer, have better health, more fulfilling and happy relationships, and feel more successful than people who are not living an authentic life. Who wouldn’t want those things?   

What do you hope people will take away from the webinar? 

A greater understanding of Authentic Leadership and how they can become a more Authentic Leader should they choose to do and be so.

- Book now, and find more on authenticity and leadership in our archive.

BPS Members can discuss this article

Already a member? Or Create an account

Not a member? Find out about becoming a member or subscriber