Look At It From Behind ...

Yesterday we talked about the importance of “self-awareness” for our students as the leaders we are training them to be here at St. Francis.

In short, self-awareness allows them to look at the true motives of their heart and to confront them head on which, in turn, allows them to be honest with themselves. By being honest with themselves they are able to be honest with others. This is foundational to leadership.

Not surprisingly, in a 2012 book entitled, Heart, Smarts, Guts, and Luck, the authors noted self-awareness is the one quality that trumps all others in good leadership.

However, in addition to the aspect of honesty, they found that self-awareness leads to an improvement in effective decision-making.

By understanding and examining self-motivation one is able to determine if a decision being made is rooted in self-interest or the interest of others and/or the organization.

As a leader, this ability is essential. As we mentioned yesterday, we are often blind to our motives because we choose to hide them away.

Why? Sometimes it is because we are frightened to face them. But, more often than not it is our pride. We honestly believe that we are just better than most. It is pure vanity.

Pope Francis addresses this vanity head on, “An example I often use to illustrate the reality of vanity, is this: look at the peacock; it’s beautiful if you look at it from the front. But if you look at it from behind, you discover the truth… Whoever gives in to such self-absorbed vanity has huge misery hiding inside them.”

The vain peacock will only ever see the beauty of its front. The smart peacock will ask others to tell him what he looks like from behind, and be humbled into reality.

The vain leader will only ever see the beauty of their leadership. The smart leader will expose their motives to self-scrutiny and to the scrutiny of others and be humbled.

In the humility of seeing both the front and the back of their leadership they will make the kind of decisions that make good leaders.