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Leadership and Appetizers

I am often struck by the lack of self-awareness by those in leadership roles and positions! How is it possible that leaders don’t know their value?!? How do you NOT know what you’re good at or the areas in which you excel? The menu that is your life is failing at the point of the appetizer when you are NOT aware of what you do well!

Most of us get excited about the appetizer page of our favorite restaurant or, especially, new restaurants! We WANT to experience something simple in a new or fresh way! The appetizer is an opportunity to start conversation at the table… good appetizers can change, even electrify, the table mood. Great appetizer menus have so many great offerings that the only real dilemma lies in deciding which one(s) to get!

You are not ready for leadership if you do not know what you do well. While I became more aware of what it was that I was good at, I did have the opportunity to test that developing expertise against the knowledge and experience of others I trusted. There is no value in arbitrarily declaring one’s greatness or expertise without some initial degree of validation.

For example, you won’t find chain restaurants doing a lot of experimentation with expensive cuts of meat in appetizers, they choose what is familiar to their clientele and perfect that. While my new favorite restaurant performs gastronomic magic with filet mignon in one of their appetizers, I do not have that expectation of our local Chili’s… and to be clear, I enjoy Chili’s!

The point is that there is some level of validation necessary as we conduct our 360-degree self-evaluations of exactly where it is that we excel. Knowing who we are is the first step in identifying how we “hook ‘em” towards our leadership style.

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