Home > You in B&W > Mark of a Great Leader – First Know Thyself

Mark of a Great Leader – First Know Thyself


According to the Harvard Business Review blog post: The Mark of a Great Leader by Marshall Goldsmith, self-knowledge is central to great leadership.

As a leader, knowing how you are wired (strengths, weaknesses, style and preferences), even just a little bit more:

  • Empowers
  • Develops EQ (emotional intelligence)
  • Makes your more capable to understand a bit about how others are wired, too
  • Increases your ability to work with people who are wired differently
  • and, even better, increases your ability to make the most of working with people who are wired differently – synergy in action!

Ask Yourself:

  • Are you a great leader?
  • Can you quickly describe how you are wired?
  • Are you capable of using self-knowledge to improve both personal and work relationships?
  • Do you apply this knowledge to help to develop others?
  • Have you used this knowledge to influence decision-making (ex: career direction)?


(Acknowledgment that this is an incomplete list of related resources, but its a place to start – please feel free to comment with additional suggestions.)

  • StrengthsFinder 2.0 (book & online assessment) – Identify your top 5 talent themes.
  • Go Put Your Strengths to Work (book) – Follow these 6 steps to discover the strengths and weaknesses at play in your life today and how to make changes so that more of your time is spent on strength-related activities.  Includes a chapter for how to leverage this knowledge in teams.  (Does not require the StrengthsFinder 2.0 test, but it is helpful to connect your top 5 with the strengths you document in this process.)
  • Keirsey Temperament Sorter (free online assessment) – Better understand how your type impacts the way you take in information, make decisions, view the world, and interact with others.  Plan to at least purchase the $4.95 report to receiver your 4 letter type code (E/I, S/N, T/F, J/P).  Based on same Jung theory / research as MBTI.
  • Please Understand Me II (book) – Detailed accompaniment to the Keirsey Temperament Sorter – goes into much more detail than the reports you can purchase online and includes background information / research to the assessment as well as the detail information about each of the 16 types.
  • Showing Our True Colors (book w/ cards) – Use the cards to identify which colors are brightest for you, how that translates into interactions with others and how others might perceive you.  Completely reusable with others – great for families.

It’s not about taking a test, it’s about learning, and then what you do with that knowledge – be the great leader that is inside of you!

  1. May 16, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    You’re so right that it is important to know yourself – and to realize that other people are distinct and different and that there is room for that diversity. In fact, it’s necessary. So many leaders approach people expecting to make everyone like them when that doesn’t work.

    Embracing who we really are allows us to develop the skills we need to adapt to and collaborate with those who are different and to see the value in that.

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