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Self Awareness

March 5, 2012

I have been thinking recently about the concept of “good judgement” and what it means to exercise good judgement as a leader.  In many ways, judgement is at the core of leadership.  Harvard professor Bill George states,

“Becoming an authentic leader is not easy.  First you have to understand yourself, because the hardest person you will ever have to lead is yourself.  Once you have an understanding of your authentic self, you will find that leading others is much easier.”

For myself, learning to use good judgement has meant a great deal of self reflection.  It has meant dealing with the fear of making a bad decision.  One tool I have used to assess my own ability to understand how I manage decisions is from a book by University of Michigan professor Noel Tichy and University of Southern California professor Warren Bennis.  

Exercising Courage in Judgment

1.  Fear of Action – inaction even when the need to act is known; preference for the status quo over change

2.  Fear of Criticism – concern that a key stakeholder will be critical of a judgement or the required execution

3.  Fear of Defiance – worry that others will not follow your leadership judgment, thereby undermining your leadership authority

4.  Fear of Personal Loss – concern that something of value or career opportunity may be lost taking the necessary action

5.  Fear of Insufficient or Imperfect Information – self-doubt and concern that in the absence of perfect information, your conclusions are wrong

By rating these areas on a scale of 1 to 5 you may get a sense of the extent to which you think each area impacts your judgement.  It’s an important step in understanding your own decision making process.

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