Authentic Leadership: Instilling Passion and Ensuring a Legacy [National Assembly Session Recap]

National Committee members led a session encouraging members to pursue authentic leadership. Photo courtesy of Laura Daronatsy.

Session: Peer Leadership: Today a Leader, Tomorrow a Legacy

Presenter: Robert “Pritch” Pritchard, APR, Fellow PRSA, PRSSA National Faculty Adviser; David Lee Watta, PRSSA Vice President of Regional Conferences; Dea Pennington, PRSSA Vice President of Professional Services; Laura Daronatsy, PRSSA Publications Editor in Chief

Recap: Attendees of this session participated in a leadership style quiz, leadership ideation activity and discussions. We discussed how now — more than ever — there’s a vital need for authenticity in peer leadership.

Attendees learned about several different types of leaders: autocratic, participative, delegative and situational. Each have their own strengths and weaknesses. Autocratic leadership can be compared to dictatorship and is criticized for being too stringent, but thrives in moments of crisis. On the other hand, participative leadership is much more democratized and is arguably the most effective style, as it makes team members feel excited and motivated. Delegative lets people thrive in their individual roles and responsibilities, but can be ineffective if people are unsure of or unqualified for their role. Situational leaders are very rare. They’re resilient and adaptable in all different kinds of situations.

No matter what style of leader we are, one element of our leadership remains true — authenticity.

Authentic leaders are genuine, enthusiastic, transparent and own up to their actions. They find the ideal balance between saying “yes” and “no.” They understand how much “no” can hinder a creative environment and know how to offer constructive feedback. We discussed how being an authentic peer leader is all about remaining approachable while still holding others accountable and maintaining kindness. As Pritch explained, these leaders set clear guidelines but they don’t micromanage. Now, more than ever, we need authentic leaders to instill passion and creativity and ensure a long-lasting legacy. Being genuine, trustworthy and transparent is not only a breath of fresh air but also key to being an effective leader.


  • Leadership is an inter-dependent relationship between the leader and the followers.
  • Failure is part of being a good leader. Recognizing your failures and working to build from them is key to leadership.
  • Modesty and humility are at the core of effective leadership.
  • A lasting legacy is built on a firm foundation of principles and purpose.


Lindsey Snow is the director of recruitment of the PRSSA Chapter at Elon University. She is a senior strategic communications major and hopes to work at a public relations firm or advertising agency post graduation. Feel free to connect with her on LinkedIn

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