Self-Awareness; Self-Motivation; Self-Development – It Has to Come From Within (insight from Daniel Pink, Daniel Goleman, and Kouzes & Posner)

encouraging-the-heartWe saw, over and over again, that leadership doesn’t depend on mystical qualities or inborn gifts but rather on the capacity of individuals to know themselves, their strengths, and their weaknesses, and to learn from the feedback they get in their daily lives – in short, their capacity for self-improvement.
Leadership development is self-development… To know what to change in our lives, we need to understand what we’re doing that is getting the results we want and what we’re doing that is not. 
James Kouzes & Barry Posner, Encouraging the Heart: A Leader’s Guide to Rewarding and Encouraging Others

FocusThere’s an intriguing relationship between self-awareness and power… But the higher someone’s position in an organization, the bigger the gap. Self-awareness seems to diminish with promotions up the organization’s ladder. 
Whatever the reason, tuned-out leaders see themselves as being far more effective than do those they are guiding. A lack of self-awareness leaves you clueless. 
Empathy entails an act of self-awareness: we read other people by tuning in to ourselves.
No one person could have them all. But there was one “meta” ability that emerged: self-awareness.
Daniel Goleman, Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence

drive_book-by-daniel-pink_danpinkdotcom1As organizations flatten, companies need people who are self-directed. (Nobody “manages” the Wikipedians)… Routine, not-so-interesting jobs require direction; non-routine, more interesting work depends on self-direction.
In today’s environment, people have to be self-directed.
  “If you need me to motivate you, I probably won’t hire you.”
Daniel Pink, Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us


I just revisited, for the umpteenth time, my handout for Encouraging the Heart by Kouzes and Posner.  I think it should be mandatory reading for anyone and everyone leading people.  In this “re-visit” of this book, I was struck by this:  the idea that a leader has to aim at self-development.  And, It reminded me of similar ideas and themes from Daniel Goleman, and Daniel Pink (Drive is basically a treatise on the value of intrinsic motivation; you know, motivation from within; in other words, self-motivation).

Goleman would have us start, I think, with the capacity for self-awareness.  He calls self-awareness our inner rudder.

Pink describes this era as the era of Autonomy: a renaissance of self-direction.

This much I know.  There is a pretty good chance that you have the kind of job where no one is hovering over you, telling you exactly what to do when.

In other words, it really is up to you (and, up to…me!).

Am I aware of myself?  (my strengths; my weaknesses; the way I treat people?)
Do I motivate myself?  (do I get going, stay at it, work on the right things?)
Do I develop myself?  (do I am at daily improvement?  Am I getting better at what I need to get better at?  Do I learn new things?)

If you are weak in self-awareness; if you are lacking in self-motivation; if you are not intent on self-development…  well, you will probably have greater difficulty than the self-motivated around you.  It really is an “it is up to me to motivate myself, develop myself” era.


You can purchase my synopses of these there books (and many more) with my comprehensive, multi-page handouts, and the audio of my presentations, from our companion web site,


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s