The Self-Aware Leader – John C. Maxwell Book Summary

The Self-Aware Leader – John C. Maxwell | Free Book Summary

The Self-Aware Leader – John C. Maxwell

The book “The Self-Aware Leader” by John C. Maxwell was published in 2018. It is a book about leadership and self-awareness and focuses on how leaders can improve their effectiveness by understanding themselves better.

The book offers practical guidance and advice for developing self-awareness and using it to become a better leader.

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The Toughest person to lead is always yourself

People seldom see themselves realistically. They aren’t self-aware. Human nature seems to endow us with the ability to size up everybody in the world except ourselves.

If you don’t look at yourself realistically, you will never understand where your personal difficulties lie. You won’t recognize your strengths and weaknesses. You won’t find and correct your blind spots. And if you can’t see all these things, you won’t be able to lead yourself effectively.

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Civilization is always in danger when those who have never learned to obey are given the right to command.

Learn Followership

Only a leader who has followed well knows how to lead others well. Good leadership requires an understanding of the world that followers live in. Connecting with the people on your team becomes possible because you have walked in their shoes.

You know what it means to be under authority and thus have a better sense of how authority should be exercised.

Arrogant leaders are rarely effective in the long run. They alienate their followers, their colleagues, and their leaders. Learn to submit to another person’s leadership and to follow well, and you will become a humbler—and more effective—leader.

Seek accountability

People who lead themselves well know a secret: they can’t trust themselves. Good leaders know that power can be seductive, and they understand their own fallibility. To be a leader and deny this is to put yourself in danger.

Working on a weakness in your strength zone will always produce greater results than working on a strength in a weak area.

Climber vs Connectors

Climbers Think Vertical—Connectors Think Horizontal 

Climbers are always acutely aware of who is ahead of them and who is behind them in the standings or on the organizational chart. 

Connectors, on the other hand, are focused on moving over to where their team members are and helping them. They think more about who is on the journey with them and how they can help them. They put the good of the team ahead of their own personal gain.

Climber vs Connectors contd.

Climbers Focus on Position—Connectors Focus on Relationships 

Because climbers are always thinking about moving up, they are often focused on their position. However, connectors are more focused on relationships. Unlike positional people who desire to climb the ladder, relational people are more focused on building bridges.

Become a Learner

If you want to be a self-aware leader, you’ve got to be an intentional learner.

If you want to become the best leader you can be, you need to become the best learner in the room.

The Learning Zones

  • The Challenge Zone: “I attempt to do what I haven’t done before.” 
  • The Comfort Zone: “I do what I already know I can do.” 
  • The Coasting Zone: “I don’t even do what I’ve done before.”

As you increase your self-awareness and gain experience as a leader, you understand more and more that leadership is not about you.

You first

It can get overwhelming to know that, as a leader, you have to go first, especially after realizing that you’re the toughest person to lead.

By virtue of the meaning of “leadership,” you have been vested with the responsibility of taking care of others. And when called upon, a chief must be ready to deliver. So as a leader, you ought to welcome change and to change quickly as you may not have the luxury of time others enjoy.

Leadership makes every endeavor better or worse. This principle transformed the way the author approached leadership. It meant that followers get better after good leaders do. And wherever you have bad leaders, everyone around them will struggle to succeed.

It’s not about you, it is about others

When we study self-awareness and self-leadership, it is very easy to think selfishly.

However, the book reminds us of and prepares us for a time when the focus shifts from ourselves to the team, and rightfully so.

Why should leaders welcome change and welcome it quickly? to facilitate change for others.

Effective leaders are committed to creating an enabling, sustainable environment for team members who are ready to learn and grow. That’s why a more accurate metric of outstanding leadership performance is the success and general condition of the team.

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