Personal Governance 4: Self-Reflection, Self-Assessment, Self-Regulation

In today’s turbulent and pressured environments, managers all too often find themselves in a metaphorical prison. They slavishly replay old thought patterns, trapped by static world views.

It’s hard to see things in a new light if we don’t know what our resources are. Or when anxieties and self-protection stop us from seeking out help, or feedback. This holds back our personal development, as well as our ability to set out the Life Plan that will give us a sense of purpose and guide our decisions. So we drown in the day-to-day, often in a role (or conflicting roles) that miss our sweet spot, for reasons we can’t explain. No wonder so many managers are gasping for air.

Personal Governance 4

Worse still, we fail to create the breathing space we need to stop, reflect, and renew ourselves.The systematic mis-investment of a manager’s time can cause functional and personal misalignments that can go on for years. Not only can this damage the manager, it can cause misery for direct reports and the close entourage. How can we get back on track?

In the full article you’ll find:

  • Keys to working on your mental models and identifying the roles you play in your ‘life’s theater’.
  • Key questions to kick-start your self-assessment process.
  • A set simple insights explaining why we so often fail to recognize our limits.
  • The vital signs of role conflicts, with keys to identifying the ones you can solve today. You can take an honest, hard look at your own role, its visible - and hidden - conflicts of interest.
  • Clues to recognizing and solving time investment conflicts, including the Foundation Model for Time Structure and Time Investment.
  • Some rules of supervision, intervision and feedback.

A Trio of Critical, Related Competences

Managers with good Personal Governance are masters of self-reflection, self-assessment and self-regulation. Self-reflection applies to how we think, communicate and act. Being aware of our thinking and behavioral models means we can self-evaluate in a personal and situational way. Self-regulation means knowing when we have reached our limits, and need help. Peter Senge sees reflection and exploration as key to personal and organizational learning, Donald Schön views reflecting on thinking at the moment of acting as a characteristic of outstanding leadership. And Daniel Goleman positions self-awareness and self-regulation within Emotional Intelligence.

Self-Reflection Presupposes We Are Self-Aware

When we are self-reflective, we are attuned to our feelings and our thinking models. We stop and think in a constant, recurrent loop. This ‘Personal Action Research’ facilitates permanent learning and development. Its capstone, Reflection in Action, is the antithesis of: ‘how should I know what I think, before I hear what I say?’ It enables us to recognize the thought patterns, the mental models (assumptions, convictions and world views) that influence our perception, judgement and reaction models. These can trap us in recurrent behaviors and conflicts.

Self-Assessment Springs From Self-Reflection

Self-assessment helps us to establish areas for learning, and recognize the limits of our self-regulation. It also demands being self-critical – and having a high enough resource-orientation to view sometimes-painful insights through a positive lens. But anxieties and self-protection needs can get in the way, the fear of being psychologically wounded, or losing status, for example. They can also block our ability to deal with feedback or take risks.

Self-Regulation Means Self-Steering – Within Our Limits

Managers often ask the ‘make or buy’ question of companies. They ask it less about themselves. Yet they should - ideally, with an external coach or sparring partner.

For The Right Role, Ask the Right Questions

The Peter Principle explains why and how talent tends to be promoted upwards to a point of failure. Not only this, but role conflicts (such as double Chairperson/CEO mandates) obstruct and confuse the business landscape. And all too many managers are struggling in ill-fitting roles and rarely experience ‘flow’. A lack of reflection on their positive motivations or self-protection needs, as well as poor self-assessment, can lead managers into positions that damage themselves and others.

We Must Make Time for Time

If time is needed for reflection and the ‘renewal’ of our personality, mis-managing the way we spend our time means that Personal Governance eludes us (in the sense of a clear mission, strategies, concepts, life goals).

Behavior Checks Are Easier With Rules

Self-regulation means reflecting upon and examining our behavior. Supervision and intervision, a familiar problem-solving tool in social and medical fields, are woefully neglected by business leaders. So, too, is personal coaching. And bilateral feedback – often feared, misunderstood and infrequently-solicited - is a critical component of learning and development.

Read the Full Report