Personal Development: Being a Self-ish Leader

If you’re someone who views “personal development” as a check-the-box requirement on an annual performance plan I’m going to stop you right there. That attitude is at its best self-limiting. At its worst, it’s a sure road to nowhere. Here’s why: Personal development consists of activities that develop a person’s capabilities and potential, builds human capital, facilitates employability, and enhances quality of life and the realization of dreams and aspirations. Far from being a bothersome or meaningless task – or a luxury you just can’t afford to have, it’s actually the biggest tool you have in your leadership toolkit.

Maximizing Your Strengths and Developing Your Weaknesses

What gets you going? What fuels your fire? What are you good at? What are you not-so-good at? Pause, ask yourself these questions, and seek feedback from others to better know and understand your strengths and weaknesses. Top performing leaders know and understand themselves. They are self-aware and this is part of their ongoing journey of “continually growing as a leader.”

The Ability to Monitor Yourself

Do you know what triggers you? What are those peculiar circumstances that “all of a sudden” you are not behaving according to your own set of standards? I am sorry, but even the best of us have people or circumstances that are “red hot buttons” that for some reason stimulate our negative emotions. As a leader, having good Emotional Intelligence (EI) is a game changer. “EI is the capacity to be aware of, control and express one’s emotions, an to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.” Daniel Goleman helped popularize the concept of EI in his 1995 bestselling book: Emotional Intelligence – Why it can matter more than IQ.”

You Can’t Be Aware by Yourself

Being aware of ourselves is one of the biggest challenges leaders face. Everyone is watching you all the time and you need to recognize what they’re seeing. You need to be intentional about the messages you’re sending, and you can’t do that if you don’t know what some of those messages are.