March 2015

In This Issue

Self-Aware Leaders

   Growing the Leader Within Us

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topThis edition of Pathways to Success continues the discussion of Leadership development that we began in the October of 2014 newsletter. This month's issue looks into the issue of Self-Awareness and its relationship to Authenticity in Leadership. Complementing this discussion on Self-awareness and authenticity is the second article on Growing the Leader within Us: working to be well-rounded and expanding personal leadership across key areas.


I hope that you find these articles insightful and they give you a pause for reflection. Please forward this email to colleagues and friends if you found them valuable. And, if you haven't done so already, please sign up on my website to receive continuing editions.




Steve Terusaki, President of SEIDO Consulting
Steve Terusaki  
SEIDŌ Consulting
Self- Aware Leaders

Self-Awareness is one of the four areas of Emotional Intelligence important in the soft skills of Leadership. In the November 2014 edition of this newsletter, I surveyed these four areas described by Daniel Goleman in his book, Emotional Intelligence, New York: Random House, 1995. In review, the four areas are: Self Awareness; Self-Management; Social Awareness and Social Skills.


Individuals who are self-aware are also more able to be authentic in their leadership roles. Not realizing how others see us can lead to poor decision-making and spoiled relationships. If we can stop, listen and think about how others see us, we can take better stock of ourselves. We can compare the characteristics of what we want to be with the characteristics we currently present to the world. The goal is to close the gap between our professed "self" and our actual "self". We all know unfunny people who know they aren't funny and we can accept them for who they are. We also have encountered unfunny people who think they are the most hilarious stand-up comic and we cringe when they begin their act. When others sense "cluelessness" about our behavior, it undermines stature and credibility.


A construct that is used to understand Self-awareness is the Johari Window. This model of Interpersonal Awareness was first introduced by Luft and Ingham in 1955 in the Proceedings of the Western Training Laboratory in Group Development at UCLA. The Johari Window is a two-by-two matrix that graphically depicts self-awareness in terms of what is known and what is unknown about us to others; and what is known and unknown about us to ourselves.




We are most authentic to ourselves in the Public quadrant. It is here where others know us and we also know ourselves well. Our behaviors and actions match how we portray ourselves and how we are perceived.


The Private quadrant describes those aspects about ourselves where we choose not to let others know. There is a reticence to be fully open and this can impact how we are perceived. This disconnect can diminish our authenticity on matters that are most private to ourselves since we can be perceived as "hiding something."


Growing the Leader Within Us

"For what we've discovered, and rediscovered, is that leadership isn't the private reserve of a few charismatic men and women. It's a process ordinary people use when they're bringing forth the best from themselves and others. Liberate the leader in everyone, and extraordinary things happen."

- James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner, The Leadership Challenge: How to Keep Getting Extraordinary Things Done in Organizations.


Leadership is a verb, not a noun. Leadership is action, not a position. Leadership is defined by what we do, not the role we are in. Some people in "leadership roles" are excellent leaders. But too many are bosses, "snoopervisors," technocrats, bureaucrats, managers, commanders, chiefs, and the like. Conversely, many people who have no formal leadership role are excellent leaders. In today's fast changing world, we all need to be leaders.


To lead is to show the way by going in advance. To lead is to guide or direct a course of action. To lead is to influence the behavior or opinion of others. We all need to be leaders, regardless of our formal title or role. This starts with inner self-leadership and moves outward to influence, guide, support, and lead others. The process of becoming a leader is the same as the process of becoming a highly effective human being. Leadership development is personal development. Leadership ultimately shows itself in what we do "out there." But it starts "in here."


It would be easy if we could all become leaders by following a simple set of steps. But the journey of personal growth means finding our own way. There are, however, critical areas of personal development based on timeless principles. The distance we need to grow along each leadership dimension will differ for each of us, but defining and continually growing along each of these paths is the way of the leader.


Strong leaders are well-rounded and constantly expanding their personal leadership across these key areas:

  • Choose Not to Lose. Whether we choose to focus on our problems or our possibilities is a key leadership issue. When we are faced with obstacles and failure, those who can overcome adversity and learn from their experiences, turning them into opportunities, are the ones who will be truly successful.
  • Focus and Context. The core of my being: This is central to our growth along all the other dimensions. Our Focus and Context is shaped by three vital questions: Where am I going? (my vision); What do I believe in? (my principles and values) and; Why do I exist? (my purpose or mission).
  • Responsibility for Choices. If it's to be, it's up to me: Leadership means accepting responsibility for our choices in life. Leaders realize that life accumulates, that choice more than chance determines their circumstances. They refuse to succumb to the "Victimitus Virus" ("it's all their fault" and "there's nothing I can do").
  • Authenticity. Getting real: Leadership isn't just what we do, it's something that we are, which then drives what we do. Genuine leadership comes from within. It's authentic, and based on honesty, integrity, and trust. We must ring true to ourselves by becoming self-aware and exploring our inner space, gathering feedback on our personal behavior, and ensuring consistency with our stated values and principles.


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