In reflecting on my leadership journey at the beginning of CAL II, I felt confident as a leader having learned and absorbed a lot over the past 17 years of informal and mostly formal leadership roles I’ve held. My perspective was that I had a good grasp of what effective leadership looks like in different contexts and among different teams.
That said, I firmly believe agility requires a growth mindset and the best experiences have stretched me beyond what is comfortable. CAL II has been a good catalyst in helping me see beyond my normal point of view to focus more on how others see me.
The things that have been most impactful that I have learned through this class experience is first the 360 survey (deep-diving through its results and seeing how I “show up” in other eyes) and secondly considering and taking action to close specific Johari windows.
Starting with the 360 survey, it confirmed some things I expected but also revealed that my being more of a private person would inhibit others’ ability to feel connected to me. Sharing more personal details about myself and what engages me (while still feeling comfortable in my introversion) can be an effective way to let others see me more.
The survey results also shed light on where some of my reactive competencies are rooted in internal assumptions which impact behaviors and keep me from being more creative. A helpful tool for my toolbelt was to pair the survey results with learning where my top 3 saboteurs of Stickler, Restless, and Hyper-Relational at times can impact my leadership effectiveness. Greater awareness and intentionality about combatting these with positive thoughts and behaviors can help me be a better leader.
For the Johari window, one of the most insightful things to me was understanding that while I felt like I was being an authentic leader by primarily focusing on work in most contexts rather than sharing more about myself and what drives me, this is not the case.
From my survey results, I learned that my greatest blind spot is that there are those who don’t know me as well on a more personal level and that can create obstacles to building greater trust with others. This also is reflected in the Johari window of what is Known to Self and Not Known to Others which is my window that is most open and would benefit me (and others) to close the gap on.
While I wouldn’t say I’m intentionally setting up a façade or false persona, revealing more about myself at a deeper level never crossed my mind as being of interest to others, nor something that is specifically of value in the workplace.
How have these lessons learned impacted me? I’ve implemented a change in my approach to 1:1s with my leader to positive effect; spending more time sharing about specific accomplishments and displaying more of my passion and actions about the topic being discussed.
I’ve also been more intentional to share personal details and have been making note of them for self-accountability and to see whether there is a positive reaction or response. While sometimes it has been easy for me to share and others it has been more difficult, I’m more aware of those saboteurs that are trying to keep my focus on protecting myself (security) or earning something because of my actions.
This self-awareness has helped me to be thoughtful about how I show up to others and to realize that going a different way than my saboteurs direct will be OK and in fact, help (rather than harm) my relationship with others. I’ve found no judgment or bad reactions yet, which further reinforces the notion that my saboteurs were lying to me anyway!
In the last several months, I’ve already observed positive changes and over the next 6 months will continue to make strides to incorporate myself more into the details of my work. This includes sharing what I enjoy about my work and the things I do, as well as to be more intentional about letting others get to know me by sharing personal details and anecdotes.
The lesson I’ve learned (and will continue to learn) is that who I am personally matters to others and as a leader, creating an environment that is more open in this regard will build stronger relationships. I’ll need to be very intentional, but I am committed to taking this next step in my leadership journey. I could never have predicted at the start of this course that my big “Ah Ha” would be sharing more of myself with others, but every good story has a surprise twist!