Authenticity, transparency and honesty are words often used to describe great leaders. We expect that they will embody these characteristics in order to properly guide our organizations, our companies and our country to greatness. But, what happens when leader allegedly misrepresents herself as in the case of Rachel Dolezal?
What happens is a bit of chaos and uncertainty, particularly for those who looked up to and worked alongside that leader, and no matter how effective the leader was in that role, there’s a significant loss of trust. And, while many have been attacking Dolezal over this firestorm, they have also conceded that she was indeed effective as the president of the Spokane, Washington, NAACP Chapter. However, certain inconsistencies and misrepresentation of facts in Dolezal’s past, such as a discrimination claim against Howard University for not giving her a position because she was White and falsely identifying another man as her father, has called into question her credibility as a leader, and perhaps even her character as a person. The major issue here when examining this from a leadership lens is not what Dolezal “allegedly” lied about, but it is the mere fact that she lied.