What I learnt this week: Some uncomfortable truths about insight #WILTW

This is the 28th #WILTW

Insight is a gift. If you have no insight into your behaviours and how they affect others it will have a profound impact on the way others respond to you. However it is quite possible to achieve a significant amount, professionally and personally, with minimal insight into the way you affect other people. This may because you have positioned yourself in a hierarchical leadership position and over time lost the ability to self-reflect. Sometimes, but not always, you may then be in a status quo of affecting others to the extent organisational performance doesn’t flourish but not enough the organisation fails.

The first thing you have to know is yourself. A man who knows himself can step outside himself and watch his own reactions like an observer.
Adam Smith, The Money Game

It is a nice maxim but in practice I am beginning to see that it might not be so easy to to move from knowing yourself to changing yourself. At my hospitals’ new consultants forum (a group of consulants in the first five years of practice) we had talks this week on leadership and task orientation. We discussed positions you unconsciously adopt in negotiation. One example was taking on a victim persona (“this always happens to me“) which hugely decreases the chance of reaching a positive outcome. Having always thought of myself as someone who reads body language and feelings well it was somewhat of a surprise when the facilitator picked me up as adopting a ‘blame’ stance in my response to another consultant’s concerns. I’d merely pointed out that assuming that ‘nothing can be done’ will result in ‘nothing being done’. Hadn’t I….?

Sibling Rivalry

While my logic to me may seem impeccable, my outward stance was more passive-aggressive than perhaps I had realised. This came as a bit of a shock. More embarrassing given I had just told the group how much a problem it was that some consultants seem unable to present themselves in a way that doesn’t cause others to become confrontational.

Insight is a gift. A gift that you must not assume is a perfect skill and one which maybe everyone thinks they have and very few people do…

What have you learnt this week? #WILTW

2 thoughts on “What I learnt this week: Some uncomfortable truths about insight #WILTW”

  1. Was that Nick D by any chance? I’ve really enjoyed all the sessions I’ve done with him. Wish I could have made the meeting.

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