The recent examples of leaders and CEOs involved in the failures and crises of several businesses and banking majors have opened the business world’s eyes to an important fact: people at the topmost echelons are not exempt from falling prey to corruption – both financial and moral. These instances drive home the need for value-based leadership in which the leader constantly maintains a high level of self-awareness. Indeed, this is often the thrust area that coaches need to concentrate on when they provide life coaching to their clients who are positioned high up in the organizational hierarchy.
Importance of Self-awareness
William George, Henry B. Arthur Fellow of Ethics and Professor of Management Practice at Harvard Business School explains this quality of self-awareness with the term “mindfulness.” In his own words, “Mindfulness is a state of being fully present, aware of oneself and other people, and sensitive to one’s reactions to stressful situations. Leaders who are mindful tend to be more effective in understanding and relating to others, and motivating them toward shared goals. Hence, they become more effective in leadership roles.”
As people progress higher up the ladder of success, they find themselves exposed to a lot more money, fame and power. These can combine together to form a heady mix that seduce and numb the sense of self-awareness. Over time, it becomes increasingly difficult to look within, introspect and reflect on one’s own way of functioning.
Self-awareness is vital to be able to accept mistakes and begin to make amends. This mindfulness is the foundation from which a leader develops emotional intelligence to handle his employees with sensitivity and empathy. Without such communication, there cannot be any trust and respect – factors that are crucial for true depth of relationships and also for the leader to serve as a motivational force for the team he leads.
Steps to Self-awareness
One of the primary steps to becoming self-aware is to set aside time to introspect and reflect on the things that happen around you. Learning how to do this is an important area covered in life coaching programs. We need to draw our senses inward and look to our own mind and conscience for an answer to the befuddling questions we face. The next step is to listen in a selfless way – listen with a desire to really learn and understand, with an open mind and not selectively filter in only that which boosts our ego.
Developing a sense of mindfulness is definitely a difficult task, but not an impossible one. It is a journey that is easier when you have a guide helping you through the rough patches and pointing out your blind spots. This, precisely, is the reason why top level executives and CEOs require a life coaching expert: to make them aware of their weaknesses and work towards getting rid of them.
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