• Keith Wells

It all starts with (self-)awareness

Another day, another piece of research that shows how out of touch leaders can be. Senior leaders apparently are 20% more likely than people in other roles to believe that the goals they have set for their organisation's change programme have been personalised and adapted for individuals.

A while back, we learned that 80% of leadership teams believe their product or service to be superior to others. While only 8% of their customers think the same.

These awareness gaps are actually quite serious, as they indicate an inherent weakness either in leaders' abilities/psychology or their organisation's internal systems. Or both. And they undermine not only the bold announcements of change programmes and objectives, but also the credibility of the leadership team behind them.

And if we think about Purpose, it's obvious that without an awareness of what is now important in the outside world, no business can really define or pursue its own.

The pandemic has challenged and changed many fundamental assumptions and traditions. And it continues to (Accenture reported in 2020 that "Covid-19 has forever changed the experience of being a customer, an employee, a citizen, a human") with often far-reaching benefits. One of those, we believe, is to have brought greater attention back onto ideas like Emotional Intelligence. As Daniel Goleman wrote, "The higher up an organisation you go, the more important Emotional Intelligence becomes". He also defined that as "the capacity to recognise our own feelings, as well as those of others, and the basis for motivating and developing relationships", which seems even more appropriate and necessary now.

We discussed the ideas behind Emotional Intelligence and the role of awareness in leadership, in a podcast with Jo Larbie but what it really demands of individuals and of organisations is to ask different questions, and to start from the other's perspective. To be truly outside-in, and to be prepared to see what other people see about them.

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