Manage This … Self-Knowing

In their book Leadership Presence, Belle Linda Halpern and Kathy Lubar consider self-knowing, or self-awareness, an essential skill. They describe self-knowing as “the ability to accept yourself, to be authentic and to reflect your values in your decisions and actions.” Self-knowing is also weighted in Emotional Intelligence (which we’ve written about before; let me know if you want a copy).

I have found it to be an essential quality of leadership presence for many reasons.

First of all, in order to lead or inspire people, they have to have confidence in you. The only way people will have confidence in you is if you accept yourself. This means accepting both your strengths and your limitations and being willing to express them both.

It also means that you are able to better understand how you are most successful — in what situations, using what strengths, with what people.

Finally, people will not follow you if they don’t see you as an authentic person who lives your values. They may on a short-term basis, but it is not sustainable.

So how can you increase your quality of self-knowing?

1. Get to know your work style and your strengths. Tools for style include Myers-Briggs (MBTI), “What’s my Communication Style?” and Personal Coaching Style Inventory (PCSI). Tools for learning your strengths include “Now, Discover your Strengths” and the reflected Best Self tool found on the Center for Positive Organizational Scholarship website.

2. Make sure you are taking the time for self-reflection — methods could include journaling, hiring an executive coach, or spending time with a mentor.

3. Learn your values and articulate them to the people with whom you work closely.

I’m speaking at the Rhino Toastmaster’s Club on May 19 in San Francisco on “How to Succeed in Business…without Being a Man”. More info can be found at

I am featured on BNET speaking on “Have you Fired someone Yet?” It’s not Donald Trump style! See me on

About the Author: Kerrie Halmi is a coach and facilitator specializing in people management skills. Her passion is increasing women’s success in business. See

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June 2007 :

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