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Capability: Part1 – Self-Awareness


What did almost all of the 75 members of Stanford Graduate School of Business’s Advisory Council recommend as the most important capability for leaders to develop?

Self-Awareness*


*I suspect that what they met was more related to “Leader Awareness” and will proceed with the notion that while self-awareness is a linchpin between self-knowledge and leader awareness, the practice of LeaderWARE is what I mean in regards to what it is to be aware as a leader.

Here are the components of Capability that I have found IMPORTANT to address in creating Self-Knowledge>>Self-Awareness>>Leader Awareness, along with their major constituents:

Perspective:

Applying Elaborating Seeking
Giving Assimilating Integrating
Taking Coordinating Differentiating





Subjectivity:

Instrumented – animated Institutional – self-authored
Interpersonal – other-directed Inter-individual – self-aware





Ego Position:

Opportunist Achiever Strategist
Diplomat Individualist Alchemist
Expert





Languaging:

Declarative Serial Third Order
Cumulative Parallel Fourth Order




Task Performance:

Formal Systematic Paradigmatic
Meta-Formal Meta-Systematic Meta-Paradigmatic




Talent:

Talents Knowledge Design
Skill use Scaffolding




Affect [Sentiment]:

Pessimistic Neutral
Optimistic Apathetic




Sense-Making:

Meaning Making Making meaning to make sense
Making Sense Sense Making as a Meta-System



I want to take them one by one and just outline briefly what each means in the context of our sense making about postmodern leader developer and the equation self-knowledge>>self-awareness.

Self-Knowledge>>Self-Awareness>>Leader Awareness

I believe there is sufficient proof and experience to show that self-awareness potential is hardwired into us through heredity and that while there are MANY constraints and enablers towards that potential, that we can say without doubt that self-awareness can be compared to heritable traits like height, eye color, body type, and even a variety of other genetically inherited traits, such as intelligence — although intelligence and self-awareness are not the same thing!

From Merriam-Webster:

self–aware·ness (noun) : knowledge and awareness of your own personality or character.
self–knowl·edge
(noun) : knowledge or understanding of one’s own capabilities, character, feelings, or motivations.
aware
(adjective) : knowing that something (such as a situation, condition, or problem) exists : feeling, experiencing, or noticing something (such as a sound, sensation, or emotion) : knowing and understanding a lot about what is happening in the world or around you.
knowl·edge
(noun) : information, understanding, or skill that you get from experience or education : awareness of something : the state of being aware of something.
leader-awareness
: the notion that self/other knowledge of capability, bias, style, level, role, values and system create a byproduct at whatever level possible: required can be identified, scaffolded and institutionalized to produce sustainable results.

I think you get the idea? It’s like splitting hairs, however in my experience, there is one MAJOR differentiation. There is not a genetic constraint on self-knowledge, as it relates to knowing things about yourself, you can acquire knowledge of yourself through many different methods and you can “objectively” know yourself.

Awareness on the other hand is quite different, in my view. Awareness has to do with the consciousness that surrounds being able to be an observer of ourselves in the moment. And while again, it might seem like a “hair splitting” phenomena, I will proceed with the assumption that knowing about myself and being aware of myself in the moment may be related, but are NOT THE SAME THING — thus relieving me of constraints on my potential for knowledge acquisition and skill development.

I will agree that the field of adult development has a lot more to do with defining self-knowledge and self-awareness, so until that happens with some degree of conformity, I feel that self-knowledge>>self-awareness, where potential for self-awareness exists.

What I am not loading onto a person is the idea that self-awareness is a universal language like math, to be learned and applied with objectivity. It may be a much more subjective experience than we realize and it may not be possible for anyone to achieve any level of self-awareness, although there are great followings that presuppose that assumption.

My conclusion is thus: If people are at different “potentials” for self-awareness, then I’m going to focus where the constraints are less than genetic, so to speak and not train someone to be taller, but to be more aware of their height and what they can do as a result. Towards that end, and after almost 3 decades of trying to teach pigs to sing*, I offer the following set of ideas for your use in the next part of Capability.

*Teaching a pig to sing is a metaphor to describe how we often tend to think that anyone can do anything, and it goes like this: You can’t teach a pig to sing, and it annoys the pig! So focus on those things pigs can be, do, have, become and contribute instead.



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Mike R. Jay is a developmentalist utilizing consulting, coaching, mentoring and advising as methods to offer developmental scaffolding for aspiring leaders who are interested in being, doing, having, becoming, and contributing… to helping people have lives.

Mike R. Jay
Leadership University


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