Authenticity starts with self-awareness
Authenticity

 

Authenticity – It Begins with Self-Awareness

Gosh, I tried hard to be an extrovert. I’d bought into the idea that the best leaders were extroverts. I convinced myself that I needed to work the room, be energetic ALL THE TIME, and be the life of the event. It exhausted me and, frankly, I wasn’t very good at it. I made some key mistakes along the way.

Extroverts are people who get their energy from being around other people. Introverts, by contrast, recharge their batteries when they are alone or with people who are close to them.

Sure, there were plenty of times when I felt highly energized being around people. I loved being with my soldiers and with people who shared common interests and aspirations. But being with a bunch of people outside those parameters was hard for me. I preferred chatting with one or two people rather than try to small-talk my way to meet everybody.

I still envy those who can work the room and speak with everyone effortlessly. It’s just not me.

I learned after much study that extroverts have not necessarily cornered the market on good people skills and that introverts do not automatically lack charisma. Some extroverts can be boorish jerks just like some introverts can be reclusive. Extroverts can be engaging and introverts can be inspiring. Extroverts and introverts can be great leaders.

Like many non-shy introverts, I’m what people call a situational extrovert. I get energized being around people in certain contexts.

I also tend to enjoy working through complex issues —precisely why I find a place like Afghanistan so compelling.

I know that nailing the details is essential for any solution to work. I could do the details well, but the process would exhaust me. As a leader, I always found that having detail-oriented people around me made me better, enhanced my energy, and improved our team.

All this makes me what we call a Maverick; that is, a visionary introvert. My comfort zone is nerding-out on wicked problems like the Afghan peace process, or helping organizations with culture and strategy, or creating a business franchise so former senior military professionals can build a thriving consulting business. To make any of these endeavors work, I need Operators, Reconcilers, and Pioneers to complete our team.

Over the past 30 years of leading people and teams, I’ve seen great leaders among all personas. What do they all have in common? Authenticity. Authentic leaders are comfortable in their own skin and willing together put a diverse team.

Authenticity starts with self-awareness. Do you know your leader persona?

To help you see yourself, we designed a simple, 8-question quiz based on our leadership and behavioral sciences research. You will discover your leader-persona and what it means. You can sign up to receive highly-personalized information that will help you build diverse and balanced teams that get the best from yourself and others.

Why waste time in jobs that suck you dry? Imagine what happens to productivity when you match the talent on your team to the roles that suit them best.

What was the cost when your team:

  • missed a critical detail?
  • missed an opportunity?
  • failed to anticipate a change in the market?
  • unintentionally damaged a key relationship?

Go ahead, take the quiz and share it with your team. See how well balanced your team is and if any gaps exist. Learn how to make the most of your natural inclinations and to bring the best out of others.

The Importance of Determination
The Importance of Determination

PODCAST:

The Importance of Determination


Perseverance and Determination

My parents, David and Joanne, and three siblings—Dan, Laura and Mark—all taught me the importance of perseverance and determination, the will to succeed at whatever you put your mind to. We would always challenge one another to be the best that we could be.

Determination helped me endure some terrible experiences.

I learned that I needed to use them to empower me … or else be destroyed by them.

In this podcast you will discover:

1. Ways to surround yourself with the right people, so that you will be challenged to be your best;

2. Ideas on how to emerge stronger from terrible experiences, so that you can empower others;

3. How to use empathy, so that your team can learn and grow in a dynamic situation;

4. Insights on Determination, so that you have a guide for when to stick to your guns and when to make a bold change.

How Did You Start Using Your Talents?

I was a skinny and awkward kid. By the time I got to high school, I was bullied relentlessly by classmates and assaulted by two priests. West Point was a place whereI was exposed to many different opportunities. I decided I was going to do the toughest and most difficult things I could possibly do — like boxing and close quarters combat — because I was never going to go through again what I experienced in high school. And that led to Airborne School and Assault Ranger School—some of the toughest schooling and assignments that the Army had.

The Most Impactful Turning Point?

Some of the best role models and mentors I had were from the history department at West Point and were either infantry or armor officers. Because of their personal example—the way they taught and led and cared for the students in their classes—they truly inspired me to want to be like them when I became an officer in the Army. I decided that I wanted to come back to West Point and teach one day because I aspired to do the same thing for other cadets that these fine men did for me.

The Most Powerful Lesson Learned?

I learned several essential lessons from my parents and siblings: the importance of perseverance and determination along with the will to succeed at whatever you put your mind to. We would always challenge each other to be the best we could be. Another key lesson from a great teacher I had in high school was the value of honoring each person, including myself, and the vital importance of empathy.

Steps to Success from Christopher D. Kolenda, Ph.D.

  1. Use perseverance and determination, along with the will to succeed, to achieve whatever you put your mind to.
  2. Find a group of people where you can challenge each other to be the best you can be.
  3. Honor each person, including yourself.
  4. Learn to be empathetic, to see things from the eyes of others; seek to understand, first, then to be understood.

Listen to Chris’s Entire Podcast