Thursday, July 27, 2017

Step 1 of Leadership - Part 1

Many people still think that they are put in a leadership role. I disagree. I believe we are put in a position that requires leadership but it is up to us to apply leadership in that role.  Leadership, therefore is not something that lands on our lap, it’s something we decide to do.  Our success in it starts with leading ourselves.

We are the "ground zero" of our own leadership journey. Much of the complaints I hear from people who fail to lead others (followers’ cat-and-mouse attitude, failure of to listen, lack of commitment, etc) comes from their failure to model leadership behaviors.

This writing work will have several parts so I can chunk what I wish to share in bite-size pieces and so I don’t have to wait until I am able to complete the whole thing before I share it in one fell swoop.

This Part 1 will be about Self-Awareness, Daniel Goleman’s recommended first step towards self-regulation.  

Deming said that you can’t manage what you can’t measure. In the same sense, you can’t control what you are not aware of.  So, let’s tackle this topic.

Increased self-awareness happens when we take interest in “what we’re made of.”  Jo Luft and Hari Ingham’s JOHARI Window is a good framework to use at the start of this journey of self-discovery.  Here’s how I propose that we use it.
  •  The Arena – things we know about ourselves that others also know. These include everything that’s visible about us, things we disclosed including personal information, opinion, demonstrated skills, applied talents, expressed values and others. The goal is to widen our arena so that we and the world are aware of who we are and what we represent. The way to do this is to decrease the size of the other panes. 
  • The Fa├žade – this pane covers the things we don’t disclose to others; our secrets, unshared feelings and opinions and undisclosed thoughts. It helps to recognize what we are uncomfortable of expressing and decide if they help us or not.
  •  Blind spot – there are things about us that people know but we don’t, or at least refuse to accept.  Listening to others and considering their opinion will help us understand ourselves better and later manage our behaviors better.
  •  Unknown – Our untapped potentials continue to be unknown until we learn to take risk and discover ourselves through the challenges we experience.

The journey within is not easy. We have to be willing to accept that we have strengths as well as weaknesses. Whether those weaknesses are things we discover ourselves or given as a feedback by others, we need to listen so it contributes to our self-awareness. The more you fight information that seems to attack your self-concept, the longer it takes for you to learn.
Here are a few suggested activities you can take to enhance self-awareness:
  • Take the strengths-finder test to find out what your strengths are
  • Take a personality test that helps validate your strengths and weaknesses. MBTI or DISC are just some of them
  •  Identify your personal core values, describe them and identify critical incidents to help contextualize these values.
  •  Call a friend and ask, what he/she thinks are your strengths and weaknesses. This should validate what the other tests are saying.
  • Experiment. Test your skills. Every time you break a personal barrier, you learn something new about yourself.

In the next post, I’ll talk about Self-Regulation as a way to achieve self-mastery.

in the mean time, check out ExeQserve's Personal Mastery Training on Emotional Intelligence