What Leaders need to know about themselves?

Self awareness was sited as the most significant capacity for developing leaders. With that in mind, should you go to psychotherapy? Should you read psychology and self-help books? Should you join a covenant group? Sure, that would help but that knowledge it is not very specific to your everyday  practice of leadership. Some of it is relevant and some of it is not.

So, if there were a few crucial things that you needed to know about yourself, what are they? We think the following list is the bear minimum that you need to know to improve your leadership ability:

  1. Your top 3 values? Your values inform your action. Beware though, your stated values might be different from your values in use(check out your ladder of inference.) Pay attention also to the organization’s values and how they fit with your own. If there is a lack of fit, then perhaps leadership at your current organization is not right for you.
  2. Learning style according to Kolb. Pay attention to how you and others learn. It is easier to see the difference when you contrast. Assuming others learn the same way you do, can be a major source of conflict and resentment. Seek learning assignments that fit within your learning style. At the same time, remember, there is no substitute for experience.
  3. What you are committed to and what underlying assumptions are preventing you from meeting these commitments? Check out the immunity map. 
  4. What are your blind spots? Here were we find that JoHari’s window is a most helpful tool. Using this framework you start to take notice of the current limitations in your knowledge. Accordingly, you also can devise strategies to increase your knowledge.

When we know ourselves, we create a foundation for others to trust us. When we share this knowledge with others, they know where our actions and decisions come from, they are more likely to have compassion for us.

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