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The Case for Self-aware Leaders

CEOs don’t always see the impact of their actions

Confession: I roll my eyes a bit whenever I come across something in the leadership literature that talks about the importance of being "self-aware." Leaders, drowning in data, tend to be profoundly well-informed about what's happening at the organizations they lead. Calls to be "self-aware" can feel a little condescending and hokey, the stuff of vintage soft-rock hits.

But McKinsey & Company's State of Organizations 2023 report, released late last month, puts some meaningful metrics around matters of CEO self-awareness. Just as no department works well when it's siloed off, top leaders can't be islands unto themselves without consequences. As the report puts it, leaders "need to be able to lead themselves, they need to be able to lead a team of peers in the C-suite, and they need to have the leadership skills and mindset required to lead at scale, coordinating and inspiring networks of teams."

As evidence for that, the report found that only 25 percent of respondents—2,500 executives from large global organizations—describe top leaders as "engaged... passionate and inspiring employees to the best possible extent." The other piece of evidence, the study points out, is that there's simply more volatility in the workplace now, between larger economic forces and a workforce that has made radical shifts in the past decade thanks to DE&I efforts, hybrid offices and more.

Please select this link to read the complete article from Associations Now.

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