Why more organizations need them
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 is 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 earlier this year, puts some meaningful metrics around matters of CEO self-awareness. Just as no department works well when it's siloed off, top leaders cannot 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."
So, yes, a little self-awareness isn’t necessarily so hokey. But what does that look like? According to the survey, the largest proportion of respondents (46 percent) say the most important element of leadership for their organizations is role modeling—“building respect and considering the ethical consequences of decisions.” That’s closely followed by 37 percent who value “inspiring others” and 35 percent who say “developing people.”
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