Leadership and Self-Perception

Posted by Dr. Holly Latty-Mann on

There is a ton of literature on leadership and self-awareness. What about leadership and self-perception? It is different, and it is quite compelling, too. “People who accept themselves accept others,” and “People who hate themselves hate others” – are words I read this morning by Richard Rohr.  Immediately I recognized a strong pattern from 3 decades of helping managers and executives improve their leadership demeanor.

Driven, demanding managers are hard on themselves AND others. Those who are perfectionistic tend to demand the same from others. Humanity therefore must start on our own turf. The degree to which we are self-accepting, self-forgiving, and self-caring tends to mirror the degree to which we go about accepting, forgiving and caring about others.

This short blog would be on the ho-hum side if I didn’t add a critical observation regarding the aforementioned. Driven managers who upon slowing down tend to be pleasantly surprised to discover more work somehow seems to get done. Slowing down correlates with taking better care of self and therefore others. Our demeanor appears less threatening when we appear less rushed, and people are more productive when their social environment is experienced as less threatening.

Oh, and one other thing – when you engage yourself in a more humane manner, the people who work and live with you actually can look physically different to you. I believe it has to do with seeing everyone as a real live human being with a heartbeat. I’m thinking we might miss that when we’re in a mad rush. Apparently slowing down gives the sense that we truly do care about others, and as the age-old adage goes, “Nobody cares what you know unless they know that you care.”

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