In the jungle, it's hard to find the attributes that we consider to be "authentic leadership qualities". Ideas like integrity and empathy don’t necessarily play out in a predator/prey environment. The way a lot of people interpret it, leaders have followers - but that's not how Nature manages the pecking order.

There are no “followers” in Nature because everyone is expected to manage their own self-interest. As the dominant themes in jungle life are a competition for food and the privilege to mate, Survive & Prosper mean "self-interest". If each taking care of its own, it is good for all. In this sense, there is altruism in the self-interest.
If you see an alpha-male lion sitting with its pride for example, you'll have no trouble figuring out who does what. The "king" protects and serves his mates and their cubs. He might lead his family in a hunt but his leadership role is very fragile. Young males are itching for "breeding status". They want to take over the pride and are looking to expel the incumbent.

In order to do this, three of four brothers may form a coalition and then attack. If successful, they'll slay the pride's cubs to bring the females into heat and so any battle is ferocious. After a win, without any further aggression, the brothers will share the females and grow the pride... while looking out for up-coming males who'll threaten their own status.

Higher primates behave pretty much the same way. A silverback gorilla has his hands full tending to his harem. Gentle creatures, they grow huge and behave atrociously to intimidate rivals, and to assure females that their offspring will inherit the Earth.

Alpha males don't lead anyone. They intimidate competition and bully predators into submission.

So where does authentic leadership come from? Well, leadership as we know it is a human trick. Sociologists Melvin Sorcher and James Brant suggest the abilities that mark leaders are found by evaluating 4 abilities in their day-to-day life:
1. Personal integrity; 2. Effective communications; 3. A heightened capacity to analyze situations; 4. Working well with others.

In Nature, to fill their needs, creatures will mimic what works best. Looking for an authentic leader? Just interview people on those 4 aspects of themselves:
  1. Find out about a candidate's integrity by questioning him or her directly: Has the person ever lied, bent or shaded the truth, and under what circumstances? Has he or she ever cheated or withheld information and why? Look for concrete examples.
  2. How do you assess the person's communication skills? How well does your candidates receive and give out information? Do they tailor their message to each audience? Does their presence command attention and respect? Are they intellectually curious?
  3. How does the candidate reason and analyze issues? How well and quickly does he or she assemble information? Does the person demonstrate sound, logical thinking? Does he or she confront ambiguous situations or procrastinate around directives and timelines that are vague? Get examples. Will he or she make good quick decisions?
  4. How well do your candidates work with others? Do they help or seek out help? Are they open to different styles and skills? Will they surrounded themselves with people who can give candid feedback? Are they capable of receiving criticism or advice? Do they share the credit? How do they motivate people?

Changing demographics insist that we are heading for a severe shortage of qualified leaders as the baby-boomers begin to retire. Wisdom then, as altruistic self-interest, suggests that enterprise invest important time and resources to hold onto the good ones it has, and to train the authentic leaders it needs.