The Authentic Manager


  • Author Scot Pilkington
  • Published June 15, 2022
  • Word count 641

The Authentic Manager

What does it take to be an authentic manager? I think this can be summed up by the definition of authentic; according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary; “true to one's own personality, spirit, or character is sincere and authentic with no pretensions”©.

No pretensions, this is hard to find in today’s society. We have grown into a self-centered group where the question is always in the back of most people’s mind “what is in it for me”. I believe business and management has evolved to a self-centered way of thinking, where everyone has started to look out for their own self and not the greater good.

When was the last time that you have talked to someone, and they actually listened to you? They did not interject their own story or impede on yours. Managers need to act like coaches where they are looking out to build a team with the idea of the entire group succeeding instead of just their own good. What happened to the team concept? I believe much verbiage is given to it, but not practiced. To be authentic, you have to be true to yourself. To be able to look in the mirror and ask yourself, are you doing the best for the whole or just yourself?

There is an old poem out there by Dale Wimbrow, 1934 titled The Guy in the Glass ©.

The Guy in the Glass

When you get what you want in your struggle for pelf,

And the world makes you King for a day,

Then go to the mirror and look at yourself,

And see what that guy has to say.

For it isn't your Father, or Mother, or Wife,

Who, judgement upon you must pass.

The feller whose verdict counts most in your life

Is the guy staring back from the glass.

He's the feller to please, never mind all the rest,

For he's with you clear up to the end,

And you've passed your most dangerous, difficult test

If the guy in the glass is your friend.

You may be like Jack Horner and "chisel" a plum,

And think you're a wonderful guy,

But the man in the glass says you're only a bum

If you can't look him straight in the eye.

You can fool the whole world down the pathway of years,

And get pats on the back as you pass,

But your final reward will be heartaches and tears

If you've cheated the guy in the glass.

I believe this says it all. People that are authentic listen to you and are genuinely concerned about what you have to say. They are supportive and process what you are saying. They are not thinking about themselves, but ponder how they can help you. Likewise, they are morally honest and upfront with you. You can tell they are different by how they present themselves. Their story is not about them, but about you. They think about how they can support you and the group as a whole. They also know how not to sacrifice themselves and hold on to their own integrity.

What has happened to this type of manager? Where have they gone? I believe that the pressure to conform to society and the business world has caused them to bury themselves. It is no longer accepted to stand out or up for one’s self, but to conform to the group. If you don’t conform to the group, you are a threat to your fellow managers and to the management above you. Hence, it has become unsafe to be authentic in business. You have to sacrifice yourself to survive and maintain your job. This is sad and a shame that we are doing this. For it is not doing mankind any justice. We have become Jack Horner and chiseled ourselves a plum. ©

Scot Pilkington has 30+ years in Management/Engineering. He has spent 25+ years looking at the psychological issues surrounding humankind and himself.

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