Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Self-Awareness: The Most Important Quality of a Servant Leadership

There are some studies that suggest that upwards of 87% of Americans are unhappy in their jobs. I used to think that this was due to bad bosses. However, after working with numerous coaching clients and leadership teams, I am now in the belief that most of these unhappy workers are simply misplaced.

There are people who get up every morning and to go to a job that they don't like because they're not using their skill sets or their gifts. Their jobs are not in line with the core of who they are, and their managers are not self-aware so they don’t understand or recognize why the employee are unhappy.

Fortunately, at an early age, I recognized my gifts. However, I did not realize that I could actually make a living speaking. When I was worked in banking, and because the bank was so heavily steeped in community service, I would always tell organizers and/or coordinators that if they needed me to do anything, just allow me to speak to the student of the various schools who were our partners. I loved it so much that I started speaking on my own.

I had dreams even then of making a career out of it but many of my coworkers laughed at me. I even had a doctor tell me once that he thought that I was not living up to my full potential because I did not have a terminal degree, which I was thought was ludicrous.

Bill Turner, Founding member of the Pastoral Institute, once said, "A person cannot be an effective leader if he does not know who he is." Of Mr. Turner's 10 characteristics of a servant leader, he says that self-awareness is the most important. Bill George, the author of the book True North wrote, "When the 75 members of the Stanford Graduate School of Business Advisory Council were asked to recommend the most important capability for leaders to develop, their answer was nearly unanimous: self-awareness.” Understanding who you are is vital while on the journey toward servant leadership.

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