Four Essential Insights on Becoming an Authentic Leader

News Direct

Aug 02, 2022

–News Direct–

Leadership, which is the ability to influence the actions, thoughts, and commitments of those with whom we share a mission, is among the most important responsibilities we have in life. Unfortunately, there is a lack of clarity about what it truly means to lead, and most are largely unprepared to shoulder their leadership responsibilities. This gap can only be closed when we are willing to both embrace those responsibilities and commit to a personal journey of development. Nobody understands this better than former Marine Corps officers John Buford and Sean Georges, authors of On Mission: Your Journey to Authentic Leadership (Aug. 2, 2022).


Greenleaf Book Group recently sat down with Buford and Georges to discuss what it means to lead with authenticity and how leaders can embrace a mission-focused and human-centered approach. The authors shared four essential insights:


1.Define Yourself as a Leader

Leadership begins with an important personal decision: the decision to humbly define yourself as “a leader,” a human being with leadership responsibilities. Unless you consciously and intentionally embrace your responsibility to lead the people in your life, you will not be able to influence and impact those around you. When you humbly and sincerely add “a person with leadership responsibilities” to the definition of who you are as you engage with others throughout your life, your world will transform. This is an act requiring both humility and courage, but you must start there.


2.Commit to an Intentional Journey of Development

The goal is to become a more authentic human being so that you are capable of leading in an authentic way. We don’t become leaders by obtaining a promotion or building a resume. Leadership comes from perspective and capability developed through our life’s journey. Since no outside entity, promotion or title can effectively transform you into a leader, your leadership development is ultimately in your hands, and you must undertake it with intention. Effective leadership development is progressive in nature, but there is no set order to that progression. Education, training, and experience—all vitally important—happen concurrently and inform one another. Your learning journey may not be structured and sequential, but it can be planned and must be intentional.


3.Lead as a Servant with a Mission Focus

During our more than 80 combined years of military, business, non-profit, educational, and wilderness leadership, a key aspect of authentic leadership has become crystal clear: At the heart of leading in an authentic way is service. Authentic leadership is about people, and leaders seek to serve their teammates in support of the team’s mission. With humility, servant leaders seek to accomplish their team’s mission by building and maintaining supportive relationships with their teammates. In adopting this leadership philosophy, a leader’s focus will naturally shift from a narrow and limiting “What’s in it for me?” to a broader and more empowering “What’s possible for us?” The leader’s efforts will then align with the team’s mission, and the leader will explore and find their best and highest role in service to their teammates. An authentic leader wholeheartedly embraces the understanding that the accomplishment of their team’s mission does not rest solely on their own limited capabilities but on the combined and collaborative capabilities of the team around them. They can then tap into that deep reserve of motivation we all have inside when we serve something beyond ourselves.


4.Build a Resilient Team Culture

Leadership is best understood in a team context. Whether your team consists of you and a family member, you and a project team, or you and the leadership group of a multi-national corporation, the fundamentals are the same. Of all the team leadership skills addressed in On Mission, nothing is more important than creating, shaping, and nurturing your team’s culture. Culture is the team’s social DNA, an aggregate of the team’s values, conventions, and beliefs. It plays a significant role in guiding behavior, shaping relationships, and supporting how the team accomplishes its work. It is important for you to understand and appreciate what makes up your team’s culture; as you lead, you will expend time and energy on shaping and strengthening it.


Pick up your copy of On Mission and stay updated on Buford and Georges’ endeavors by visiting


About John Buford and Sean Georges


John Buford, PhD, served as a Marine Corps Officer for over 20 years, conducting operations overseas and teaching at officer training schools. After retiring from the Marines, John earned a doctoral degree in education, specialized in performance improvement, and became a certified wilderness medicine instructor, college professor and outdoor educator. He is a certified leadership coach and board member of several nonprofit organizations.


Sean Georges, JD, LLM, is a Naval Academy graduate who served in the Marine Corps for 13 years, the bulk of them as a military lawyer. He earned a law degree from the University of Illinois and an advanced law degree from the Judge Advocate General's School at the University of Virginia. For the past 22 years, he has served as the senior vice president of human resources and general counsel for a publicly traded retailer. He is a leadership coach and mentor and a frequent public speaker on leadership.


# # #


More about Greenleaf Book Group

Greenleaf Book Group is an independent publisher and distributor located in Austin, Texas, dedicated to empowering authors. Greenleaf’s hybrid publishing model is uniquely positioned to offer the benefits of both traditional publishing and self-publishing. To learn more about Greenleaf, visit


Sam Ofman Primary: 512-891-6100
Greenleaf Book Group

View source version on


Flynn Gold discovers significant high-grade gold at…

--News Direct--Leadership, which is the ability to influence the actions, thoughts, and commitments of those with whom we share a mission, is among the most…

read more

Prescient Therapeutics PTX-100 shows promising results in…

--News Direct--Leadership, which is the ability to influence the actions, thoughts, and commitments of those with whom we share a mission, is among the most…

read more

Josip Heit in an Interview with NATIONAL…

--News Direct--Leadership, which is the ability to influence the actions, thoughts, and commitments of those with whom we share a mission, is among the most…

read more