Leaders of the future will be free from the need to be seen as bulletproof, independent and all-knowing. A “soft-skills” leadership approach is also the best antidote for a pervasive cynical culture and the ability to function in our new über-interdependent world. This will require healthy doses of self-awareness.
Recently, Robert Glazer at Acceleration Partners posted a great data point:
“According to my friend Tasha Eurich, an organizational psychologist and author, there is a clear self-awareness deficit in our lives. Eurich has found that though nearly 90 percent of people believe they are self-aware, less than 15 percent of them actually are. This lack of self-awareness leads many of us to be surprised by situations that could have been anticipated had we paid closer attention to our circumstances.” I have seen too many leaders with strong leadership gifts fall apart because of character issues related to a lack of self-awareness. Some were spiritually mature but emotionally under-developed, others were emotionally mature and spiritually under-developed. It breaks my heart to hear of a church leader with so much potential do something that shatters his or her integrity, and thus affects the whole organization. We have to cultivate a healthy measure of self-awareness, which means we must have some permission-giving systems built into our lives. Do we have people in our lives that we give permission to speak truth to us—to rebuke, to correct, to probe—without fear of retribution? Do we ask them periodically: what do you see in me that’s frustrating to you? How am I doing as a leader…as a friend? Self-leadership means that we notch up our level of self-awareness, and that usually means finding places where we are willing to take the risk of being vulnerable—because a blind spot is just that: a blind spot. And if we really want to help others grow as whole people, then we need to discover our own stuff. This aspect of self-awareness is why Jesus asked: “Why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying, ‘Friend, let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log from your own eye; then perhaps you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.” Or as the airline attendant says prior to takeoff, “Place your own oxygen mask on first before you assist others.”
DAVE WORKMAN | Elemental Churches
Excerpts from "Elemental Leaders: Four Essentials Every Leader Needs...And Every Church Must Have."