Authentic Leadership – Part 5 Awareness

Mark Miller serves as the Vice President for Leadership Development at Chick-fil-A. In the post below, he shares his perspective on Self-Awareness.

Have you ever noticed, the more you look for something, the more you find it? Like when you get a new car – the next week, you see dozens of them. . I’ve been shocked by how many leaders I’m encountering who have low self-awareness. They don’t pay close enough attention to the things they do or don’t do, or if those things are done well or poorly, so they cant see when it is or isn’t working.

Self-awareness is huge for leaders. You can argue it’s important for everyone, but for leaders, a gap here may be the determining factor in your ability to lead at all.

How self-aware are you?

An exercise I often ask leaders to do is write down three strengths and three weaknesses. I’m amazed how often this activity is futile. If you overstate your strengths and minimize your weaknesses out of insecurity, you will end up in trouble as a leader. My best advice on this topic is to be ruthlessly fearless and honest in your evaluation of yourself… and get help to provide genuine accountability to your findings.

We all have blind spots. Regardless of how hard we try, I’ve met very few men and women in my life who have been able to pierce these blind spots on their own. However, if you and I get help and we’re willing to embrace the truth, good or bad, we can identify the strengths we need to leverage and the gaps we need to mitigate.

Here are a few ideas to help you shed some light on your real strengths and weaknesses.

Conduct an assessment. This can be done in a survey or an interview format. If you do a traditional survey, my recommendation is to get another person who will be honest and unbiased with you to review the results. ( We have one here at EIS – email me at and request it).

Conduct a Stop – Start – Continue survey. This is another form of a 360 assessment, but much easier. You ask only three questions: What should I STOP doing? What should I START doing? What should I CONTINUE doing? I do this every few years. I’m always amazed at what I learn.

Build a circle of trusted advisors. (Accountability). The leader who doesn’t have truth tellers in their life will always be on the brink of disaster. You can include anyone you like in this group as long as you have them on your team. For me, my wife and my son are the first on my list; my administrative assistant is next; followed by a few of my co-workers and a group of men who I’ve been meeting with for over 15 years. I’m counting on these people to care enough about me to tell me the truth. They help minimize my blind spots.

The leader who doesn’t have truth tellers in their life will always be on the brink of disaster.

Truth is a leaders’ best friend. The truth about your leadership is perhaps the most valuable truth of all. – Mark Miller

Mark is one of many authentic leaders that forge the way to authentic servant leadership. Self-Awareness is a crucial element to sustainability and prosperity in any venture, or in any relationship in life.

Connect with a coach, mentor or counselor today to start or continue this aspect of your life. Mark Miller does this frequently as a regular part of his life/leadership style.

BH/ Article adapted by Mark Miller

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