Two Exercises to Build Self-Awareness

Two Exercises to Build Self-Awareness

Our inner monologue runs nonstop, whether we pay attention to it or not. It is a valuable source of self-awareness and a key to knowing our blind spots. Some call it self-talk, mind chatter, or inner voice. It often tends to be negative and judgmental. Even though our inner monologue filters, interprets, and gives meaning to our perceived experiences, we rarely acknowledge it―perhaps we don’t like to catch ourselves being critical. Yet, becoming consciously aware of these inner thoughts liberates us from being controlled by them. It is a first step toward greater self-awareness because it enables us to use our thoughts and beliefs to improve our lives. Since self-awareness is so important to becoming emotionally intelligent―as well as being a foundational asset for leadership―it is worth our time and energy to learn how to listen to our inner monologue. An Easy Exercise To reveal your inner monologue, try this exercise suggested by Joshua Spodek in his book Leadership Step by Step: Becoming the Person Others Follow (Amazon Digital Services, 2017). Carry a notebook, smart phone, tablet, or recording device. A few times a day, write or record the words of your inner monologue as best you can, a few lines each time. Each time you record a monologue will take about a minute. Do this exercise until you’ve got a few dozen passages. It’s important to do it for several days, under different situations. For example, write down some self-talk at work, at home, alone, with people, and when feeling different emotions. Simply record your dialogue without making any judgments. Judgment clouds the ability to be observant. The...
The Risks of Working for a People-Pleasing Leader

The Risks of Working for a People-Pleasing Leader

Working for someone who is a people-pleaser may seem fairly innocuous or even desirable, but such leaders pose daunting challenges for their organizations. If you work for a people-pleaser, you most likely see the inherent problems and confess to seeking ways to maneuver around them. People-pleasing leaders have some beneficial traits, but their behaviors can threaten survival in today’s highly competitive and responsive business climate: indecisiveness, lack of direction, inability to retain adequate personnel, low accountability and overall inefficiency. People-pleasers have an excessive compulsion to be liked and appear likable. This tendency impedes their ability to influence results. Leadership coaching can help them learn several helpful approaches to combating the problem. Are You a People-Pleaser? People-pleasers focus on others’ reactions and are highly interested in building positive relationships and managing impressions and interactions. They want to be liked by as many people as possible to meet their psychological needs and achieve success, according to Dr. Beatrice Chestnut, author of The 9 Types of Leadership: Mastering the Art of People in the 21st Century Workplace (Post Hill Press, 2017). People-pleasers endear themselves to others through three seemingly helpful communication tools: flattery, warmth and positivity. People-pleasers’ need to be liked often seems dire and, as with most personality traits, is heavily influenced by childhood factors. Insecurities or fears manifest themselves in a variety of behaviors that are rarely acknowledged. When they please people around them, they feel a sense of well-being, Dr. Chestnut explains. This is both comforting and affirming, and pleasers hope it’s enough to bypass any potential rejection. By complimenting others, people-pleasers try to win over others by discerning...