722. Expert Interview: Self-Awareness–Where Leadership Begins
Christopher D. Kolenda, Ph.D.
“Personally, as a maverick—more of a vision-oriented person—I can do a detail-oriented job, but it is going to be really painful. I am going to spend much more energy doing it than I would be spending energy doing things that are more in tune with my natural inclinations.“
Christopher D. Kolenda, Ph.D., is the founder of the Strategic Leaders Academy, which helps non-profits and small businesses to grow sustainably by working with them to get the big things right: leadership, culture and strategy. An internationally renowned combat leader, strategist, author, scholar, and entrepreneur, Chris spent a career in the military before launching his consulting business. His unit in Afghanistan was the only one to have motivated a large insurgent group to stop fighting and eventually join the government. He’s the only American to have fought the Taliban as a commander in combat and engaged them with high level diplomacy. With these experiences, plus his Ph.D. in Strategy, Chris helps organizations that have inspirational missions to grow sustainably. He is the author of the book “Leadership: the Warrior’s Art.”
Self-Awareness–Where Leadership Begins
“‘Know thyself.’ The ancient Greeks were telling themselves, and can tell us today, that by knowing ourselves, we get to know our natural inclinations and our natural strengths so that we can put ourselves in a position to succeed. And at the same time have the humility to recognize that others have different inclinations and strengths. By putting together the right combinations of people, that are tied together by common purpose, that is what leads to the best results.”
Why Is This Important?
“When you know yourself, there are a number of things that awareness empowers you to do. First of all, it empowers you to put the right people around you. I, for instance, need detail people around me, and those are the first people that I seek out. With the right people, you can amplify your strengths or natural inclinations, and you can also cover your blind spots.”
What Are the Key Lessons Learned Here?
1. Through self-awareness you get to know your natural inclinations and natural strengths so that you can put yourself in a position to succeed.
2. Put your top talent in positions that best suit their inclinations and they are going to make the biggest impact for the business.
3. Surround yourself with the right people and you can amplify your strengths, your natural inclinations, and you can also cover your blind spots.
4. When hiring someone, more important than their skills are how they fit within the company culture. You can teach people skills, but what you can’t train is culture.
On His Bookshelf
Leadership: The Warrior’s Art, by Christopher D. Kolenda
Connecting With Christopher D. Kolenda, Ph.D.
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