The Powerful Practice of Taking a Leadership “Selfie”

When was the last time you took a “selfie”?

Full disclosure: I have taken a number of my own self-shots to capture unique and inspiring moments. I will also admit that I have deleted most of them because I wasn’t pleased with how they looked. I don’t think I’m unique here; generally speaking, unless we’re going the route of self-deprecating humor, we choose the best selfies to upload to our social media networks because we want to share our best selves. No problem. We’re just wired that way.

GiANT Worldwide Selfie

Leadership Selfie: What is on the Other Side of Me?

What if we turn the selfie lens on our leadership, though? What will we see looking back at us? If we are honest about the image reflected back to us, we will not say we’re perfect. Rather, we’ll see our strengths and also be willing to see our areas for growth. We’ll eschew self-preservation in favor of self-awareness.

Here’s a tool we use to get our clients thinking about this more:

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Self-preservation is a natural tendency for every leader. We all want to preserve our best images and perceptions of self, right? The danger comes when our self-preservation builds a barrier toward relational connectivity and ultimately the effectiveness of our organizational culture. Like broccoli in our teeth, we are not always aware of these walls we build, as they are most often constructed at the subconscious level.

Healthy and secure leaders worth following are disciplined to self-reflect around three powerful questions of self-preservation:

  1. What am I afraid of losing?
  2. What am I trying to hide?
  3. What am I trying to prove, and to whom?

It’s a courageous step forward to take a leadership selfie and ask the question: “What’s it really like to be on the other side of me?” But that’s what secure leaders worth following do. Moreover, what they learn in the process can be profoundly liberating, both personally and across whole organizations.

Leadership Take Home

  1. What is holding you back from asking your team the courageous question, “What is it really like to be on the other side of me?”
  2. What fears may be lurking behind your walls of self-preservation? How might you self-assess the negative impact of these fears?
  3. What could be the personal benefit to this powerful question?
  4. What might you see begin to flourish across your team as a result of asking this powerful question?
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