For more than thirty years I’ve been fascinated by how as leaders we increase our self-knowledge through reflection and how in turn this helps us:
• gain insight into our beliefs, values and motivations
• challenge unhelpful thought patterns and behaviors
• increase sensitivity to the needs and emotions of others
• stay grounded and resilient in the face of challenge and adversity.
Beyond these benefits, it’s also clear that our capacities to self-reflect, learn and enact personal changes can be a vital model for others. A leader’s personal growth inculcates the value of self-knowledge as part of an organization’s culture.
In his book, Wiser: The Scientific Roots of Wisdom, Compassion, and What Makes Us Good, neuropsychiatrist Dilip Jesse distinguishes self-reflection from self-awareness, calling out self-reflection as seeming to be “a uniquely human trait.” Members of other species may recognize their individuality and in that sense be self-aware, but only humans appear to introspect, meaning we are able to examine “our own mental and emotional processes to better understand their fundamental nature, purpose and essence…a profoundly important and obvious element of wisdom.”
Would you like to learn more about reflective leadership practices and see how you can apply them, whatever your organizational role? If so, that’s wonderful and you’ll want to start or continue your inner work with awareness of the fundamental reasons that it is vital to you. It might, for example, relate to experiences of pain or uncertainty, anxiety or to deep curiosity about your identity, purpose and your vision for your work. To be of value, you must be ready to undertake meaningful self-inquiry.
If you are ready, please be in touch at this address so that we can set up a time to talk. As a long-time, independent leadership coach and culture change consultant, I collaborate with clients on design of coaching and consulting efforts customized to personal needs, interests, applications and aspirations.
Recently, I’ve assembled a guidebook for reflective leaders:
It’s about 200 pages filled with a wide variety of self-inquiries, exercises and stimulating ideas. We can use this book as a general foundation and reference for coaching work we do together. Here is a selection from the book’s table of contents:
Introduction: How to be a reflective leader
• What is my core leadership question?
• What is my conditioning?
• How deep does my empathy go?
• How good a partner am I?
• What are my boundaries?
• How well do I manage self-doubt?
• How well do I meet anxiety?
• How well do I meet guilt?
• What are my corporate values?
• What is my relationship to power?
Growth and change
• What are my blind spots?
• How good am I at getting unstuck?
• What is the nature of the organization I want to create?
• What is my legacy?
A Vision of Hope
For additional information about me, please access my unfolding leadership website.
I look forward to hearing from you!
Dan, thanks for sharing this. This book looks very powerful for personal reflexion. Will you be selling it? If so, I’ll definitively would like to buy a copy. Thank you, José.
Thank you so much, José! The book is not quite done, but yes I would like to sell it eventually. I will send you some details now separately via email.