Thanks for joining us on Season 7 of The Flourishing Culture Podcast, brought to you by The Best Christian Workplaces Institute. You’ll learn how to build a flourishing workplace culture that drives the ministry impact of your organization, your church, or your company brought to you by the Best Christian Workplaces Institute. Now here’s your host, BCWI CEO, Al Lopus.
Is your leadership effectiveness limited because of your blind spots? Do you agree with the quote, “Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves”? Well, today we talk about practical tools to improve our self-awareness so that we can be even more effective leaders.
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As a leader, you invest time and energy into your team—into leading other people. But in order to lead others effectively, you also need to be growing yourself. Do you understand the impact you have on those around you? How can you grow in self-awareness? In today’s episode, we will address self-awareness as a key to self-leadership. You’ll gain a deeper understanding of the importance of self-awareness and also some practical steps to implement as you grow in this essential leadership practice.
I’m delighted to welcome Doug Waldo, who serves as a Senior Consultant with Best Christian Workplaces Institute. Doug has a rich background in human resources and leadership development, and he has a deep understanding of the research behind best practices in this sphere.
Doug – it’s great to have you with us today, welcome to the podcast.
If leadership is primarily about exerting influence, and if we aim to grow that influence, then we have to grow in our awareness.”
In this episode, you’ll hear about:
- Why is self-awareness important for a Christian leader? How do you frame the foundation of self-awareness and its importance in the growth as leaders? (02:18)
- “It can sound selfish, I suppose, but it definitely is important for a leader to begin with self-awareness and then model that behavior for those around them.” (02:41)
- “If leadership is primarily about exerting influence, and if we aim to grow that influence, then we have to grow in our awareness.” (03:33)
- “How do we practically, then, move forward in our own self-awareness? What steps are there on the road to growth in this area? (05:33)
- “We need multiple perspectives, multiple data points from different lenses to truly unlock our hidden potential in leadership. If we go it alone with our limited, biased perspective, there’s just no feasible route to the treasure.” (10:53)
- What are the implications for organizational culture where leaders are growing in self-awareness and self-leadership? (11:34)
- “What if an entire team or organization held the view that there was a very intentional design in each person, that God himself had handcrafted each leader and each employee for His purposes, and our role as leaders was to steward those resources because there are specific works that God had planned for those under our care? How would that team or organization be different?” (11:52)
- What do you advise people to use when they want to get accurate feedback and grow in their own self-awareness? (17:46)
- “What’s most important is that we get at the underlying factors that shape our leadership style. And since about the 1940s, going way back to the Ohio State and Michigan studies, we’ve known that there are two primary underlying factors that explain about 85% of all the variance in how a leader leads. And these are how we relate to others and how we achieve tasks. Recognizing how we relate to others—that is, how we express our emotions in the interpersonal interactions in the workplace.” (19:29)
- “I would urge people to look at a professionally developed 360 survey. And there are many of these available as well, as you would see via Google. But the folks at BCWI have an excellent program that is particularly well suited for the Christian leader, with a focus on character and competence and chemistry.” (21:56)
- What processes do you use so leaders can discover and act on the layers of their style, and impact the way they’re influencing others that they’re working with? (25:12)
- It’s easy to see how this discovery process, you know, we’re talking about 360s, how it’s important for an emergent leader. And, you know, what about for senior leaders as well? Why would they want to continue doing 360 leadership reviews as they progress in their careers? Is self-awareness and self-leadership a destination, or do we need to keep doing this on the journey over a period of time? And we’re often asked the question, you know, how often do we engage in a 360, for example? What advice do you have for us? (30:41)
- “I really appreciate BCWI’s cycle of discover, build, grow in this context. It’s circular rather than linear, meaning that we build practices and take action based on what we discover. And then we grow over time by refining those practices and learning from experience. And then the cycle repeats, and we’re on to discovery again. It’s iterative. If we feel like self-awareness is a destination, we will limit our growth. We will stagnate in leadership. Self-awareness is also iterative.” (32:32)
- “For far too many leaders, self-awareness seems unnecessary and too time-consuming when there’s work to be done, something to be built with urgency. After all, they have a clear picture in their mind of what they want to build or accomplish, and they just start leading. The result, though, can be a lot of wasted time and a lot of frustration.” (37:45)
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