How Can You Make Self-Aware Leadership Choices?

Your level of self-awareness influences your decision-making.


In this backstage interview from Leadercast Live 2018, Ian Cron—best-selling author, psychotherapist and Enneagram teacher—discusses how self-awareness affects decision-making. 

“[If you’re a self-aware leader, you] live with this ability to stop, take a breath, observe what's going on, [and] make different choices based on what you know of yourself and what doesn't work and what does,” says Ian. From there, you not only get a better understanding of yourself, but of others, too. You’re able to see the world through their lens and make decisions that take other people into account, he says. 

Watch the video to hear from Ian about how to make choices guided by self-awareness.

- Know all your needs and take responsibility for them.
- Recognize that other people are driven by different needs.
- Communicate with empathy and compassion.

    It's very difficult to understand and lead other people unless you really understand and lead yourself. Most people, I think, myself included, live so much of our lives on autopilot. We just don't know why we act, think and feel the way that we do. We're unfamiliar with motivations that operate underneath the surface line of consciousness. The more you bring up that material and say, "Oh, that's why," the more chances you have to make different decisions than you made in the past when you were just bumping around, guardrail to guardrail, not realizing it was because you didn't know yourself. You got to have self-knowledge before you have self-awareness. You got to know, "What am I dealing with here? What are the pieces?" I think what's so great about the Enneagram, it's going to describe to you a lot of those pieces about who you are.

    Self-awareness, really, is an operative word. What it really means is, in the moment, can I step back and observe my thoughts and my feelings and my actions in this moment and figure out what's going on and stop living reactively in autopilot, just at the mercy of all those things, and begin to live responsively, not mindlessly, but mindfully? Then you just kind of live with this ability to stop, take a breath, observe what's going on, make different choices based on what you know of yourself and what doesn't work and what does. It isn't just that you understand your type, it's that you become fluent in a whole world of types.

    You begin to realize, "Oh my gosh, there are nine different lenses through which people see the world. They're different than mine." So what comes out of that? Compassion, appreciation for difference, empathy. You know how to communicate better with them. Recently, I've realized, as I was reading Enneagram stuff that the old golden rule, which is wonderful, treat others as you yourself would like to be treated, that's not true at one level. It should be, treat others the way they need to be treated. It has to be custom fit.

    In the workplace, if you have all this information, as a leader, you just eliminate all kinds of inefficiencies and you get to care for the people who are under your charge. I think a leader who doesn't care about their people has no business being a leader.
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    Ian Cron

    Ian Morgan Cron is a bestselling author, psychotherapist, Enneagram teacher, Episcopal priest, and the host of the popular podcast, Typology. His books include the novel Chasing Francis, the spiritual memoir Jesus, My Father, the CIA,...

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