Do you take time to analyze what is going on around you? Are you clear on the role you play in the system, whether that system is your home, your work or your volunteer activities? Do you understand your vulnerabilities and capabilities as you work in the system? What triggers you – making you angry or upset in a situation?
These are all things to think when you are exercising leadership. Looking within is probably one of the most difficult things to do. It makes us uncomfortable and vulnerable but understanding ourselves and the role we play within the system is so important when working on those tough issues. Think of a time when you were working with a group or system and you felt personally attacked. What did you do? Did you attack back or did you retreat by leaving the room or shut down from the conversation?
In order to make progress on those tough issues, it takes stepping out of your comfortable place to one that may be very uncomfortable. Asking tough questions to peers, colleagues and people in positions of authority is a tough place to be but if you don’t ask those questions, who will? Does the issue mean enough to you to take that risk? If not, are you there for the right reasons? Look at what holds you back from asking those questions. There is always an inherent risk involved in asking the tough questions because it could create vulnerability within yourself and you may face choosing between your own values (competing values).
Learning to manage ourselves in these situations can be a vital component to making progress on the issue. Take steps to understand what your role is in the system and how others may see your role. Can you do what is needed in the situation or will you default to what is comfortable?
Resources: Kansas Leadership Center: Manage Self Competency
For more information, contact Becky Wolfe at Leadership Butler, firstname.lastname@example.org.