Staying Authentic in Leadership with Dr Margarita Mayo

Episode: 030

What exactly is authentic leadership? Does it just mean being yourself?

Think back to the leaders who have most inspired you. What were the qualities that made them so inspiring? It’s quite likely that authenticity is high up on that list.

More so than ever, and just when it is urgently needed, Authenticity in leadership is in short supply…Dr Margarita Mayo, a leading authority on this topic, is Professor of Leadership at the IE Business School in Madrid and award winning author of the book ‘Yours Truly – Staying Authentic in Leadership and Life’. In this highly engaging interview she answers all our burning questions – Where does authenticity begin? Why are people inauthentic? And how can we best develop it.

Margarita explains how you can maintain your authenticity while being your “protean self” in multiple roles. As she says “We have many different faces but only one heart.”

A recent survey of 28 countries found that only 27% of employees trust their CEO. In the midst of this current crisis of trust “Authenticity is the antidote to the crisis of credibility”.

During this fascinating and inspiring conversation Professor Mayo lauds the Japanese concept of ‘Ikigai’ (finding one’s purpose) and how this fuels the authentic self. She talks about “not being yourself but becoming yourself”. On this journey we need to shed the barriers to authenticity – the pressure to be perfect, fear of embarrassment and the ego. A majority of the populace are seduced by narcissistic leaders but humble people make better leaders.

The interview closes with the inspiring story of the successful young Japanese fashion designer, Hiroko Samejima, who moved to Ethiopia from Tokyo to pursue her authentic dreams.


Dr. Margarita Mayo is Professor of Leadership at IE Business School since 2000. She is a sought-after speaker and executive development coach throughout the world. An award-winning author of Yours Truly: Staying Authentic in Leadership & Life, Professor Mayo has been recognised by Thinkers50 as one of the global top thought leaders. She is also the recipient of the prestigious Fulbright Scholarship at Harvard University. Margarita holds a PhD in Management from State University of New York, and a Master’s in Psychology from Clark University. More about her work can be found on the website: www.margaritamayo.com

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