With as much humility as I can muster, I will say that I am a very comfortable public speaker. It is one of my strengths. But, there are a lot of areas where I have weaknesses. The older that I get, the more that technology has become a weakness.
More than admitting a weakness
There is more to this little moment of transparency than just admitting a weakness. This is about being self-aware enough to know your strengths and weaknesses. Clint Eastwood gave us a memorable line from his 1973 sequel to Dirty Harry, entitled Magnum Force. He said in that movie, “A man’s got to know his limitations.” It seems the older that I get, the more in touch I am with my limitations.
Knowing one’s limitations is just another way of expressing one of the key components of emotional intelligence. Knowing our limitations is being self-aware. And self-awareness leads to being able to self-manage.
What does this look like from a practical standpoint?
I am in the midst of some very significant changes in my writing and coaching practice. Some of those changes are requiring a huge technological component in order to support my mission and goals going forward. And I do not have the skills necessary to perform much of the work that will need to be done.
That is a hard thing for me to admit. I have more than 20 years in various areas of the IT industry. I have managed areas of a data center, I have managed software development teams, and I have managed It operations. Unfortunately, the last time I had a real IT job was 17 years ago. And yet today, I am totally out of my depth when it comes to technology. If I stray too far from my Mac and iPhone, I am in unfamiliar territory. And, truthfully, I don’t know a whole lot about my Mac and iPhone!
What is the practical application of this self-awareness?
There are several big web design and development projects that will be key to my continued success in reaching a larger audience about the importance of emotional agility in the life of a leader. Since I am not equipped to perform these tasks, I have had to contract with some outside talent. This is at the same time frustrating because of my background and liberating because of my ability to acknowledge that I no longer am technologically savvy enough to do some tasks today that I could have done a few years ago.
The practical application part of self-awareness in moving beyond just the awareness and into managing myself by seeking some help in those areas of which I am deficient. — Oh, how I wish more leaders would do likewise.
Go thou and do likewise
Those words are from a famous Biblical parable. The end of that parable about showing mercy have the words, “Go thou and do likewise.” We are told to do as we have just seen demonstrated int he parable. Consider my story to be a parable. Think about some areas of weakness in your leadership abilities. The go and do the same as I have done and reach outside of your own self and get some help.
Even leaders need outside help. Or, as I said at the very beginning, especially leaders need help when they come to grips with some areas where they are a little deficient.