How Well Do You Know Yourself

Do You Know Yourself Well? How well do you think you know yourself? Self-awareness is key to success in work, life, and relationships. “Knowing yourself, and knowing the forces that affect the people who work for you, holds the key to being a successful leader.” ~ Kenneth M. Settel, MD, Clinical Instructor in Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, CEO Psychology: Who Rises, Who Falls and Why (RosettaBooks, 2012) Many of us know our character strengths, and over time have worked to develop them. At the same time, not being cognizant of our weaknesses can blindside our success. The very character traits that peg you as having high potential may prevent you from making it to the finish line. Every strength has a downside when carried to the extreme. Self-awareness can prevent self-sabotage. The Pitfalls of Strengths Here are a few examples of personality traits with both their positive and negative sides from Dr. Rick Brinkman in his book Dealing with People You Can’t Stand. You probably have a sense of your personal talents and liabilities. Learning how to leverage them – amplifying your strengths while minimizing your weaknesses – sets the stage for good interpersonal relationships. You’ll become less vulnerable and less sensitive to criticism. Even the strongest, most talented people have flaws. Each of us is driven by conscious and unconscious forces that must be channeled into positive outcomes, so its important to seek personal development opportunities at every stage of your life. You won’t gain self-knowledge in a vacuum, so consider working with a mentor or experienced coach. Here’s the challenge: if you were to sit down and...

Leading With Trust

Leading with Trust: Principles and Practice A Watson Wyatt Worldwide study of 12,750 U.S. workers in all major industries found that companies with high trust levels outperform their low-trust counterparts by 186 percent. In a 2011 Maritz survey, only seven percent of more than 90,000 employees worldwide said they trust their senior leaders to look out for their best interests. It’s not just a problem for rank-and-file employees. Roughly half of all managers distrust their leaders, according to a Golin Harris survey of 450 executives at 30 global companies. Despite the importance of trust, few leaders give it the focus it deserves. Misunderstood as a nebulous “feeling”, trust is earned through consistent, positive behaviors practiced over time. Two of the best books on this important topic are: 1. The Trusted Advisor (Free Press, 2001), by leadership consultants David Maister, Charles Green and Robert Galford 2. The Trusted Advisor Fieldbook: A Comprehensive Toolkit for Leading with Trust (Wiley, 2011), by Charles H. Green and Andrea P. Howe. 5 Trust-Building Skills Trustworthy leaders practice and master five key abilities: 1. Listen Well Most leaders use their listening skills to gather information. But listening is a critical tool for connecting with others, building relationships and strengthening influence. You must pay attention, be empathic and let others know you understand them. 2. Partner Partnership involves collaborating (not competing), committing to fairness, balancing assertiveness and cooperation, dealing with disagreements, and sharing responsibility for successes and failures. 3. Improvise Things don’t always go as planned. Glitches and challenges can be “moments of truth” that require rational and emotional flexibility. Leaders are stretched at times, but...