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Intrapersonal Skills Leadership and the tendency to overlook intrapersonal skills By Tony Kubica and Sara LaForest Leaders get things done through other people. And getting things done is important for business and economic growth, in addition to personal growth. So where does it start? What do you have to do to assess your leadership capability, and, quite honestly, your interest in becoming a leader? Not everyone will be an effective leader; not everyone wants to be a leader. But if you do, where do you start? Often we find leadership development programs jumping right in to: • Communication Skills • Conflict resolution • Delegation • Decision making • Managing people and teams These are all very important – and note that most of them are interpersonal skills, yet they do not come first. That just assumes everyone wants to be and has the competencies to become an effective leader. And that’s not true. Some people do not want to be a leader so putting them in a leadership development program because you feel they have potential is shortsighted. Some people want to be a leader, but lack self-awareness and the emotional and social intelligence required to become an effective leader. And yes, we believe they can be trained and prepared for leadership, but you must first start with self-awareness. Leadership starts with and is honed by self-awareness: 1. About you 2. About why you do what you do About You The first set of questions you must ask yourself are: • What am I good at? • What am I not so good at? • What do I enjoy doing? • What do I dislike doing? • Am I honestly willing to make the effort to work on the areas that need improvement? Daniel Goleman has written extensively about Emotional Intelligence and Social Intelligence. He posits that your EI and SI quotients are important in determining how you will perform, and the impact you will have in the workplace. Leadership is much more than just being smart – knowing your stuff. In fact the corporate workplace is littered with the debris created by very smart people who lacked: • Self-awareness • Self-management skills • Relationship management skills • Empathy • Attunement • Organizational awareness • Influence • Ability to develop others • Inspiration • Teamwork • And, focus. Sure these are the soft skills, there’s no doubt about that. But it is these soft skills that determine whether you will be an effective or ineffective leader. Leaders need followers or they are not and cannot be leaders. And followers have a choice whether they choose to follow you or not. They also have a choice about their level of performance: active or passive resistant. Followers do put weight on their leader’s intelligence and cognitive abilities, but not as much as you may think. Other factors that are important to followers are: • Character • Communication skills • Personal accountability • Predictability • Trust Why You Want To Do What You Do The second component in self-awareness is asking yourself the question: why do I want to do what I say I want to do? Your “why” statement is an important driver. It’s what gets you up in the morning; it’s what helps you get through those inevitable tough and frustration times; it what determines whether people will follow you or shun you. Why do you do what you do? And in concert with this article: why do you want to be a leader? Your “why” statement is your personal vision, and it reflects your values and your philosophy. Your “why” statement is what those around you see: not by what you say but by how you behave, and by what you do. It’s trite to say that we need leaders now more then ever. We’ve always needed leaders, and now is no exception. If you are an aspiring leader, start with your intrapersonal skills, beginning with self-awareness. If you are an existing leader – know that to be a relevant and remarkable leader you will need to continue to learn and grow personally as well professionally. Realize that this too, is driven off of astute self-awareness and self-regulation. Our message is, don’t overlook your understanding and developing your intrapersonal skills – as they are fundamental drivers of your interpersonal skills, and both ultimately determine your leadership proficiency. LE   Kubica and LaForest are partners in Kubica LaForest Consulting, a consulting and coaching firm specializing in leadership development and business growth initiatives. They are authors of Organizational Gravity - Strategically Growing Your Companies Brand, Culture and Talent and speak to audiences nationally.  Visit www.kubicalaforestconsulting.com www.yourbusinessgyroscope.com Email sara@kubicalaforestconsulting.com tony@kubicalaforestconsulting.com leadership excellence essentials presented by HR.com | 04.2014 70


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