The WIT Network

Blog: Power of courage, empathetic leadership

The power of courage, empathetic leadership, and authenticity in the workplace

Authenticity means erasing the gap between what you firmly believe inside and what you reveal to the outside world.

– Adam Grant, author

It is important to be an authentic, courageous, and empathetic leader. The days when people craved shows of bravado are gone. What people are most drawn to now is real people: authentic people. The best part of being authentic? If you‘re just being you, no one can call you an imposter.

Authenticity looks different for everyone. For some, being authentic is loud and showy; for others it manifests as quiet withdrawal. No matter what it looks like, authenticity always has three characteristics. Embracing these three characteristics will help you be truer to who you are and enhance the impact of your leadership.

Authenticity is:

  • unique
  • vulnerable
  • unapologetic


Being unique means embracing what makes you different, which some people see as weaknesses in a world that values conformity. It‘s important to identify what sets you apart and then harness it as your strength. Your unique lens, passion, attribute, drive, habit sets you apart, and that in itself is a good thing.


Being vulnerable is challenging in a society that often mocks vulnerability as a weakness. But appearing strong all the time isn‘t always the answer. People crave vulnerability from their leaders and like seeing them as real. Let go and have the courage to invite people in.


Own who you are and leave the excuses behind. Love nature? Own it. Would rather stay in? Own it. Like to help people? (You‘ve got it.) Own it. Your authentic self doesn‘t have to land with everyone, and probably won‘t. That‘s okay. As Oscar Wilde said, Be yourself; everyone else is already taken. At the end of the day, you can‘t be anybody but yourself. So, don‘t apologize for you.

If you harness your power, you‘ll impact the world. Being you – unleashing who you are destined to be – empowers the world to achieve more. True happiness comes from being who you are and accepting where you are going.

To lead well, you must show up as you truly are

Roxy Ndebumadu – Senior Customer Success Manager at Microsoft and Councilwoman for the City of Bowie, Maryland – knows exactly who she is. Her entire self shows up everywhere she goes, from the golf course to the Council chambers. Developing that self-awareness and confidence wasn‘t an easy journey. But the result is pretty fantastic. That‘s why she feels compelled to help others on their journey to live authentically.

At my core, I am a person who embodies the fullness of who I am. Not someone who hides from that or tries to fit into societal expectations and norms, says Ndebumadu. I had a pretty traumatic childhood. I had to learn early on why I was special, what was unique about me, what was it that I was brought here to do in the world. I had to learn these things very quickly to be able to harness them to make me who I am today.

She teaches others that there are three steps to becoming an authentic leader.

Step one: Stop impersonating and start being personable.

Step two: Understand the truth behind empathetic leadership. People can only meet you as deeply as they‘ve met themselves.

Step three: Stop being stuck in uncertainty and start figuring out what drives you.

Ndebumadu‘s confidence, energy, and passion are infectious, and her message powerful. Check out the entire webinar on-demand here.