Leaders: Self Discover, Then Lead Others

By Dr. Paula Kliger and Lori Blumenstein-Bott

Every day, people are struggling to find themselves. To feel safe, juggle family and work life and manage day-to-day living. It is a complex world and leaders play a tangible role in its overall climate.

In our practice, we spend a lot of time talking to leaders and their colleagues. Sometimes we are brought in when something is not quite working right within the organization. At other times, leadership wants to examine potential new and fresh approaches to effectively interacting with team members. Regardless, it is important for those at the top to see their role in a fuller way so that they can be the person that the organization needs them to be for the people they are managing and supporting. What is critical here is that leaders often don’t recognize how important they are to those they’re leading. By the same token and as importantly, these leaders don’t always recognize how important they are to themselves. It is a bit of a paradox. Yet, in order to really be close to another human being or even see others more clearly, we have to embrace self-discovery and see ourselves at a deeper level. Put simply, when considering how to improve a team dynamic, a leader first has to consider: How can I begin with me?

An effective approach to doing so is something we like to refer to as looking at one’s self with an internal observing eye. To mindfully self-assess and examine who we are as a human being. What makes us tick. What experiences we bring to the office – from that morning or from days and mornings past. What baggage we are carrying and how that is o.k. Because if we can truly step back and examine ourselves in a less judgmental way, we can begin to see as many aspects of ourselves as we can and, in turn, approach others in a similar vein.

This can take facilitation and practice. Yet, it is time well spent and a true key to becoming a more effective and positive leader – one that encourages and empowers with less questioning of themselves (and others).


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