Ask Al

Thank you for subscribing and following Front and Centered. We continue to grow as an online community and I love having conversations with all of you as a result. This week, I want to share with you one of those conversations.

There is a section of the blog, called “Ask Al,” and it doesn’t get a lot of use. We received only a handful of questions since inception, but they are always very good, thought-provoking questions. Personally, I love this section because it forces me to slow down and think about things differently.

Recently, one of the members of this community sent me some thoughts and questions about a book he was reading, called Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done by Larry Bossidy, Ram Charan and Charles Burck. I am paraphrasing, but the reader’s question concerned Chapter 3 of the book and the topic of “Know Yourself.” The reader asked if “I could share any thoughts or ideas I had about further readings or insights regarding the concept knowing yourself.” I believe many of us have a burning interest in self-discovery and knowing ourselves better; therefore, I thought I would share an abbreviated version of my response.

As many have said, reading is the secret to learning and all leaders are learners. The book Execution is outstanding. Its focus on candor, transparency and debating assumptions is so powerfully accurate. In Chapter 3, one of the key pieces you picked up on was the concept of “Know Yourself.” In my opinion, this is where it all starts. At Villanova, I teach a course called “Managing Yourself and Your Career,” and I introduce a framework called the “Personalized Journey for Growth.” I start the journey with a focus on self-awareness.

 Knowing yourself is all about self-awareness. If you want to do further discovery, exploring and reading on knowing yourself or self-awareness, I would suggest the following:

  • Invest in a book called Strengths Finder by Tom Rath—read the book and complete the personal assessment. This will help you understand who you are and why you act and respond the way you do.
  • A key to leadership is emotional intelligence, and emotional intelligence is a key ingredient to knowing yourself and how you show up. I would suggest reading some articles on emotional intelligence by Daniel Goleman or purchasing the book Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman. When reading the articles and the book, focus on emotional intelligence coupled with emotional control. Both are critical to leadership.
  • There is a lot of psychology at play here. I would suggest looking into your “regulatory focus.” Do you operate from a mindset of “prevention” or “promotion?” I am not suggesting one is bad and one is good, I am suggesting you understand how you see the world. One thing that may be helpful here is exploring the concept of a “growth mindset” written by Carol Dweck.
  • Finally, I would suggest you explore the book Resonant Leadership by Richard Boyatzis. You do not need to read the entire book, but if you have the time, the exercises are great for self-discovery. If you do not have the time, at least explore the concepts of “ought-self” and “ideal self.”

 My hope is that we can learn and grow by sharing with each other. I hope you found this post useful in your own self-discovery processes. I genuinely love the dialogue and hope you will consider to “Ask Al” more questions in the future as a way for us to connect with each other.

To the reader that asked this specific question, THANK YOU! I appreciate questions that force me to reflect and think. Sometimes we are too busy. We stop thinking and reflecting—and that’s a big mistake. Thanks for helping me hit the pause button.