Self-Awareness Activities
Section I
Section II
Section III
Section IV
Section V
Section VI

The primary purpose of this site is to facilitate students' access to suggested self-awareness activities noted at the end of each section of the book.

"You" and Your Leadership

The importance of knowing yourself resonates in many of the entries in Leadership Classics and in the leadership literature at large. It has often been noted that self-awareness is the sine qua non of leadership development.

As you are learning from the selected readings, and as you know from personal experience, there are many different types of effective leaders. The recognition that, beyond basic threshold requirements such as desire and energy, there are no personality profiles that predict leadership effectiveness can be quite liberating in terms of recognizing your own leadership potential.

While there is no "personality profile" that predicts whether one will be an effective leader, it is, nevertheless, important to understand and appreciate these various dimensions of yourself. One way to begin to gain this understanding is from the suggested self-assessments. Some of your results may not surprise you even though you've never thought about the issues before; something is uncovered that makes sense to you and your understanding is more complete. In some cases you will self-validate the results (i.e. yes, these results are a good reflection of me). In other cases, the results may be exactly what you expect but the related reading places them in a new context. In all of these cases, your self awareness will be enhanced.

You may now ask, "So what?" And this is a very fair question and extremely relevant for leadership. As you will learn through the readings, it's not so much who the leader is but what the leader does that is critical. And much of what the effective leader does is intentional; the behavior is not simply reactive, impulsive or automatic. It is something that the leader has thought about and is doing on purpose. Another way to put this is that effectiveness involves determining how to behave. Actually behaving in the desired way clearly requires some self-control since the most effective behavior may not be what the leader would do "naturally, spontaneously, impulsively, or without thinking." And this is precisely where self-awareness becomes critical.

The Activities*

In addition to possibly identifying new knowledge about yourself and often confirming what is not explicitly known, the suggestions offered are to help make leadership concepts more relevant and personal. In the process this enhances understanding, stimulates reflection and often supplies a stimulus for further learning.

Purchasing the best copyright-protected instruments to cover the range of dynamics related to leadership would be prohibitive and often is not necessary. Fortunately, a number of assessments are available for personal use on the web. What is offered here, and tied to end-of-section activities, are simply suggestions. Your own search may identify equally good alternatives as well as others of personal interest that are beyond the boundaries of Leadership Classics.

It is important to remember that these suggestions are to facilitate learning and engage participants in the dynamics of the concepts. There are no implicit or explicit claims of validity or reliability related to these suggestions. The purposes are for facilitating learning and understanding, not diagnosis.

Some of the sites may ask for some demographic information that they use for research purposes. Others may give you a snapshot of your results and ask you if you would like to purchase a full report. The short report will fulfill our purposes and you are under no obligation at all to purchase anything.

Hopefully, these suggested activities will enhance your self-awareness and make many of the readings in Leadership Classics more personal, engaging and interesting.

* I made every effort to insure the accuracy of Internet addresses. Neither the publisher nor I assumes any responsibility for changes after publication. We have no control over or responsibility for third-party Web sites or their content. - J. Timothy McMahon