Know Yourself to Lead Yourself

What is true with climbing a mountain is true with growing in leadership and life. The higher you go, the harder it gets. Acclimating to higher levels of leadership requires me to face and conquer the tendencies in my life that keep me from becoming the person I truly desire to be. As I have leaned into the climb, I have become more aware the process takes energy, time and hard work, which is why I have so often avoided it.

John Maxwell has said the hardest person to lead is yourself. It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that it is the “mountain” of the job or the challenges of the people I lead that are the problems. These, however simply hold a mirror to show me what it is like to sit on the other side of me. When I live accidentally, i.e., fail to take time to better understand my tendencies and patterns, I not only sabotage my leadership but cause harm to the relationships with my family and my team. As I am becoming more intentional to examine my life and leadership, I see it is me who is in most need for change.

My good friend of over four decades, Tom Nebel, introduced me to this tool from GiANT:

The infinity loop tells me that I never stop learning and growing. I am committed to understanding how I am wired, including my tendencies and the impact those tendencies have on the people around me. Then, through faith, courage and vulnerability to change my negative tendencies in order to become the person and leader I want to be.

Tendencies. If you are anything like me (and I know I am), you have tendencies that create predictable patterns of actions. These behaviors have a price tag called consequences. Over time this shapes the reality of our lives and leadership. To change the reality then, we need to look at the tendencies that have become well-worn paths to actions that generated unwanted consequences.

My Own Journey of Self-Awareness

  • Assessments Review. I started my journey by looking at different assessments I have taken over my life (GiANT 5 Voices, Myers Briggs, StrengthsFinder, Birkman, Enneagram). I wanted to go a bit deeper so I also processed some Family of Origin triggers and tendencies with a trusted friend.
  • Write them down. I wrote down all the tendency phrases that resonated with me in one column; then I identified better, more healthy actions.
  • Summarize. It is impossible to remember pages of action points. I looked for the common patterns and themes that stuck out to me, then summarized those into three areas of growth to pay attention to.
  • Share them. I shared the growth areas with my wife and some others. The point is to get validation and confirmation with safe people around you.

How about you? Where are you on your journey? What is your next step in climbing higher to become the leader you want to be, a leader worth following?

If you want to take the powerful 5 Voices Assessment for free to understand how you are wired, including some of your tendencies, go to My friend Tom can help you if you have any questions.

Enjoy the Climb!

About Steve Morgan

I work in Global Leadership Development with my wife, Terry. We have been married for 36 years and have 4 grown children. I have a Masters in Global Leadership together through Azusa Pacific University. I generally write about 5 “L’s: Living Well, Loving Deeply, Learning Continuously, Leading Courageously, and Leaving a Legacy. I occasionally write about Laughing Loudly. Subscribe on the right side to receive an email whenever there is a new post. I invite you to leave your comments so we can dialogue on the various topics and learn from each other. If you are new to the site, you might start with looking at some of the top posts or doing a search on the right sidebar for one of the 5 “L’s” that interest you. Or you can view the blog archives for topics. Photo Credit:
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6 Responses to Know Yourself to Lead Yourself

  1. daylerogers says:

    Well said, my friend! And how often does anyone think the problem is in leading themselves? Never would have thought of that. The analogy of climbing a mountain is so apt–going higher, reaching the peak of what you seek, is work, and it all becomes harder as you continue. thanks for this. Love this diagram–makes a ton of sense. Glad to see you back writing, Steverino!

  2. terry morgan says:

    Love the Sir Hillary quote. I will take a look at more of the Giant resources – glad they’ve been so helpful for you and your team.

  3. Steve Morgan says:

    Thanks, yes the New Zealander had a good quote being the first to the summit and return from Everest. I guess he would know. We do know something about mountain climbing and high altitudes (not like Everest) and also know the challenges of growth and leadership as well. Looking forward to talking more about this.

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