Leadership is such an interesting field of study and one which has intrigued philosophers, business giants and politicians amongst others for generations. There has been much written about these leadership qualities and what makes a leader one which engenders willing followers who share and actively engage in the vision and purpose of the organisation .
The one constant in many of the different insights and definitions of leadership quality is the importance of conscious awareness of who I am and how I am around those I work with. The understanding and importance of this has been widely supported over the last number of years through the work of many different modern writers such as Daniel Goldman’s Emotional Intelligence theory to Stephen Coveys 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
However the notion of conscious awareness of ourselves dates much further back to philosopher Socrates whose life was dedicated to” Knowing Thyself” and living an examined life; to the works of Shakespeare that constantly explored the truth in who we are through his plays and writings. He gave us the insight “to thine own self be true”.
While these are deep questions and widely known thoughts, they are also constant reminders that the privilege of leading others is not a superficial undertaking – the learning from which, for the individual leader can be both immensely rewarding and stretching.
Life and circumstances provide us with opportunities to examine how we approach our interactions with the people we work with and therein how to be more effective in what we do.
In our programmes Gina and I invite personal and group reflection on the question of our own self-awareness as leaders. We encourage people to safely step into the space of what we know about ourselves in the context of how we are with those we interact with and to examine what this tells us about ourselves. It is constantly amazing and a privilege for us to experience our learners embracing this exercise and to witness the reflection it invokes.
Self-awareness is not a one day a year event, and the invitation and challenges are to each day consider the effects of our actions and our way of being on others we lead and interact with. The truth is we will are never far from the receiving end of this, as we typically always get back what we put out. The key is to know this, watch for it and ask ourselves is this serving us and the original purpose we started out with; for ourselves, the people we lead, and the Organisation we serve and represent.
Maire Murphy and Gina Ryan are Trainer/Facilitators for SQT’s Leadership and Personal Development training courses. Maire and Gina also offer One to One or Group Coaching and DiSC Profiling as an additional Self-Awareness tools.