The Unexamined Mind Doesn't Think Well: Why Self-Awareness Is A Fundamental Leadership Capacity

A lovely forbes article, identifying one’s self-awareness as a core leadership trait.

I’ve been interested in identifying the fundamental capacities of character, habit and cognition that every leader must have. My search led me to a remarkable document, the Army Field Manual on Leader Development. It was striking to me that the Army places great emphasis on self-awareness as a core leadership capacity, essential to thinking, communicating and professional development.

Self-awareness is a data-gathering and processing skill, not to be muddled, as it too often is in the popular business literature, with a clutch of soft skills like authenticity and compassion. Beware of any writer who suggests that the path to self-awareness is a meditation break, journaling or a contemplative walk in the woods. Diluting or prettifying the concept distracts from the essential point that self-awareness is a specific analytic skill that can be learned, practiced, and needs to be ongoing throughout all work activities.

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