It’s not you…
Ok, yes it is
I was introduced to the book The Four Agreements some time ago. The Four Agreements bills itself as a “Guide to Personal Freedom,” which is a bit aspirational, but I suppose that is the point. If you are not familiar, the “Agreements” are:
Be impeccable with your word
Don’t take anything personally
Don’t make assumptions
Always do your best
The book provides a lot of food for thought, but I didn’t find it very nutritious. I especially had a bone to pick with Agreement #2. Mainly because many people translate “don’t take anything personally” into “it’s not about me.” These are folks who rationalize the reaction to their bad actions or poor choices as other peoples’ problem, which could not be further from the point the author intended.
The Dunning-Kruger effect describes how less
intelligent talented people tend to overestimate their own intelligence and capabilities. This is largely due to a lack of self-awareness. This is a big problem today, in many facets of our commercial and cultural life.
Self-awareness is one of the core traits necessary to empathetic, effective leadership. It should not be confused with self-confidence, scholars say. We have gotten brasher, bolder, and more in-your-face in many aspects of our personal interactions, but that hasn’t translated into widespread progress, or lasting, effective change. In fact, it’s had the opposite effect.
According to corporate recruiters Korn Ferry, “to effectively balance…priorities, [leaders] must embrace mindful leadership. Empathy, authenticity, vulnerability, emotional intelligence and learning agility (sometimes described as "knowing what to do when you don't know what to do") should drive their decisions.”
So, it really is about taking things personally, in a self-reflective way. Being aware of the impact of your actions on others, both before and after the fact. Many seem to be losing that capability, or at least the desire to do so, especially those in public life or positions of authority.
Many intuitively assume self-confidence is important for being a leader, but self-awareness is more essential. Self-awareness makes one self-confident, but the reverse is typically not true. People with high self-awareness understand where they are headed and what makes them motivated. By knowing their strengths and weakness, values and aspirations, and how they affect actions and the actions of others, they are likely able to make better decisions and ultimately lead others. - Xinjin Zhao, Wharton
So, it really is about you. And me. Do you agree?