Friday, September 12, 2014

Self Awareness Required for Exceptional Leadership

The most successful leaders share a variety of qualities that help them in becoming the best kind of
leader. It isn't about emulating a role model or an historic figure. Rather, a leader must be rooted in one's true self and be able to recognize and develop their true talent. How can a leader find their true self?

Leaders who have a strong understanding of their true self have a greater ability to motivate staff, serve as role model, build effective teams and relationships, and to reach personal, professional, and organizational goals. Equally important for exceptional leadership is recognizing and managing one’s own inherent personal risk factors.   Tapping into one’s true strengths, while managing one’s risk factors productively, allows the leader to build positive relationships with staff, clients, senior leaders, and all other key stakeholders. 

What can happen to the leader who is unaware or is unwilling to look squarely at themself?  Derailment, job-hopping, sub-par performance, high turnover, alienation of staff, are common occurrences. Or, the results can be as simple as rejection of feedback and the failure to accept responsibility that can erode trust and credibility.  The latter is a slower road to derailment or lackluster performance results. 

When members of the C-Suite get the boot, it is not because of their intelligence or lack of knowledge.  Typically, it is because of their lack of self-awareness and ineffective behaviors gone unchecked. They lack the ability and humility to build and maintain appropriate relationships with the right people.   Leaders who lack personal self-awareness are generally not good at being keenly perceptive about others and tend to lack objectivity.

For example, imagine the CEO who has strong Egotist tendencies and surrounds himself or herself with Pleasers.  This is not healthy from the outset. Egotists tend to see themselves as infallible and do not accept feedback well.   Pleasers are yes people – so they are unlikely to push back. Egotists see themselves as superior and smarter than everyone else.   Often, this comes with a sense of self entitlement too.  In this type of group scenario, the Egotist CEO tends to bully or run slipshod all over the team.  So the lack of self-awareness, in this case, is devastating to the organization. In operating or plant environments, this dysfunctional team can pose safety or environmental risks.   Keep in mind Egotists play up well and are often charismatic, so the Board of Directors, may take a long time, if ever, in realizing what is going on and the damage may be done.

There have also been executives who, after going through self-awareness coaching say, “We’ll that is who I am they will just have to live with it.” One such CEO was a Perfectionist to the highest degree and required constant updates from all executives that were not necessary in the retail industry.  His executives never had a full day off.  Burn out was rampant and he refused to back off – even though he knew his demands were not required for the business, but merely to satisfy his comfort level and need for excessive information. He did not yield to the feedback and eventually lost his position due to his micro-management and rigidity.

Self-aware leaders are clear about their strengths – even the nuances of their capabilities and are able to leverage those.  Then, they are humble and open about their short sides and risks and work each day to keep those from interfering with relationships and bottom-line performance.  They welcome the differences of each team member and work to cultivate and maximize the diverse team strengths while neutralizing risks and gaps.  Exceptional leaders are authentic leaders who are willing to look at themselves and others with clarity, compassion, objectivity and courage.

Since 1998, CDR Assessment Group has been focusing on helping our clients to increase their self-awareness through leadership coaching feedback CDR  3-D Suite of assessments.

The CDR 3-D Suite is a robust leader/talent development tool that provides specific tangible performance and development suggestions measured through:

   Character leader acumen, strengths, best-fit role, emotional intelligence and more
   Drivers, intrinsic motivation, aversions, and values
   Risk factors that can impede effectiveness, damage relationships and lead to derailment

If you want to know your true self, email or call 918.488.0722 today to get started.   We have CDR certified executive coaches available globally to debrief your confidential assessment results to heighten your self awareness.  Go to to learn more.  Your calls are welcomed!