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The Self-Aware Leader By Howard Rich

What difference does it make to a leader to be self-aware?

Being Self-aware is one of a leader’s most valuable assets.

Some years ago, I had a standing appointment to play racquetball with a friend whom I trusted implicitly. On this particular Monday the racquetball court was closed for resurfacing, so we did what any health-conscious teammates would do; we went to a donut shop. As we sat sipping coffee and eating our sugar-drenched treats, I vented my frustrations about a ministry I was involved in at the time to my friend.

After listening to me justify my thoughts and feelings, he looked me straight in the eye and said, “Howard, you tend to do many things out of selfish motivation.” Those words pierced me and sent me reeling, causing me to take a three-day weekend where I spent the vast majority of the time in complete solitude. I took a piece of paper and wrote down everything I was involved in, then covered it in prayer over the next three days. To my incredible surprise, my friend was right, and I have thanked him many times for having the courage to help me see what I was unable to see on my own.

Self-aware leaders who know their strengths, weaknesses, and motivations automatically add value to an organization and are better equipped to build a team around them than a leader who is not self-aware. The self-aware leader will more easily care for the organization and those around him when he understands what motivates him. This leader better understands what tasks he handles most effectively and which ones he should delegate to team members. Leaders who effectively steward others must take the time to understand themselves.

Would you commit to spending some significant time in solitude with God and ask Him to help you understand your strengths, what you need to let go of, and what motivates you?


Howard Rich is the VP of Operations for the Network of International Christian Schools (NICS).

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