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Topics: Leadership, Management, Psychology Pages: 13 (5264 words) Published: November 2, 2014
Self-Awareness – Key to Effective Leadership
Mendemu Showry* and K V L Manasa**
Many theories and thinkers have attempted to explore what truly makes a person emerge as a leader. Successful leadership often surfaces when people become aware of critical personal experiences in their life, understand the driving forces, respond by rethinking about self, redirect their moves and reshape their actions. Stanford rates soft skill like selfawareness as one of the pillars of managerial capabilities that predicts managerial effectiveness and leadership success. It suggests that IQ and technical skills are far less important to leadership success than selfawareness. In a world of unprecedented business complexities, leaders, besides explicit knowledge, need an inner compass of self-awareness to walk the tight rope of leadership. The paper explores the concept selfawareness and traces the two essential components of self-awareness. The paper dwells on the reasons for self-ignorance arising out of individual’s inability to exploit two components. It also underlines how self-awareness contributes to self-actualization and managerial effectiveness.

An impartial and objective attitude toward oneself ... is a primary virtue, basic to the development of all others.

M

– Allport (1937, p. 422)

any theories and thinkers have attempted to explore what truly makes a person emerge as a leader. Successful leadership often surfaces when people become aware of critical personal experiences in their life, understand the driving forces, and respond by rethinking about self, redirect their moves and reshape their actions. The book, True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership states that only those who scan their experiences to know who they really are and realize how they should live ultimately emerge as leaders. Stanford rates soft skill like self-awareness as one of the pillars of managerial capabilities that predicts managerial effectiveness and leadership success. It proposes that IQ and technical skills are far less important to leadership success than self-awareness. It exhorts that self-awareness—an exact estimation and evaluation of one’s own personality and a lucid understanding of how *

Assistant Professor, IBS Hyderabad, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India. E-mail: mshowry@yahoo.co.uk

**

Research Scholar, University College of Commerce and Business Management, Kakatiya University, Warangal, Andhra Pradesh, India. E-mail: manasakadaparthy@gmail.com

© 2014 IUP. All –Rights
Reserved.
Self-Awareness
Key to
Effective Leadership

15

others perceive one—is an indispensable trait that all good managers strive to develop to be successful leaders. A survey of 75 members of the Business Advisory Council of Stanford Graduate School rates self-awareness as the superior competency that leaders must develop. Harvard Business School enumerates self-awareness among the key attributes that their program seeks to develop in its candidates. Dartmouth, University of Chicago, and other Business Schools are all designing programs that focus on selfawareness as the vital step in leadership development. A survey of business leaders indicates that self-awareness is vital to success in organizational environments, and many business schools are introducing tools and processes to make the students become more self-reflective. In a world of unprecedented business complexities, spiraling competition and economic turbulence, leaders and managers dealing with competent employees and ever demanding customers, need an inner compass of self-awareness to walk the tight rope of leadership. Besides explicit knowledge, tacit knowledge related to self can be the hallmark of managerial success. The paper explores the concept selfawareness and traces the two essential components of self-awareness. Firstly, it dwells on self-ignorance arising out of an individual’s inability to exploit two components. It also underlines how self-awareness...

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