Oct 1, 2019

Leadership and Self-Awareness

Unique, one-of-a-kind, individual. We like to think there is none like us.

Although in some aspects that is true, it’s also true we fall into patterns and types that have been around since people were laughing at Noah building an ark.

Patterns are helpful. Patterns show others have been on the path before me. They can help show me the way into healthy self-awareness.

As a leader, self-awareness is your greatest asset. In 2012, Stanford rated self-awareness as the most important capability for leaders to develop. The MOST important.

As Jo Saxton, leadership expert, says, “The way you think about yourself is already shaping your leadership.” If you aren’t looking at your own personal growth, neither will those you lead.

“It is not selfish to put yourself first when it comes to personal growth,” says another leadership expert, Carey Nieuwhof. 

Personal growth and self-awareness are hard work. Deep soul work, dealing with the stories we tell ourselves, finding healing without a tool is like, well, Noah building an ark without any cubit rulers or bronze bodkins.

To grow into healthy self-awareness and stronger leadership, we need some tools.

Since Hippocrates sorted patients into the four temperaments, personality models have helped humans understand ourselves and our patterns of behavior. Tools such as MBTI or the Enneagram give us a mental model to sort and sift behaviors and motives.

When applied with wisdom, personality typing systems offer us the opportunity to use our strengths, work through our weaknesses, and stop dangerous patterns.

Some are helpful and some less so: I mean, do you really find an animal type aids your journey toward self-discovery and leading other people? I’m an otter, so maybe? (Just no.)

Carl Jung said, “Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darkness of other people.” So, it’s unlikely an Instagram meme account will be enough to support an intellectually and emotionally robust approach to self-awareness. 😉

How do you grow in self-awareness? What tools have you found helpful in that journey?I’ve made a list of my top self-awareness resources to get you started.



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