New Horizons in Management series
Edited by Mitchell G. Rothstein and Ronald J. Burke
Chapter 3: Problems in Managing the Self-Assessment Process for Leaders-to-Be
3. Problems in managing the selfassessment process for leaders-to-be James G.S. Clawson These days what managers desperately need is to stop and think, to step back and reflect thoughtfully on their experiences. Indeed, in his book Rules for Radicals, Saul Alinsky makes the interesting point that events, or ‘happenings,’ become experience only after they have been reflected upon, thoughtfully: ‘Most people do not accumulate a body of experience. Most people go through life undergoing a series of happenings, which pass through their systems undigested. Happenings become experiences when they are digested, when they are reflected on, related to general patterns, and synthesized.’ (Gosling and Mintzberg, 2003) Self-knowledge leads to wonder, and wonder to curiosity and investigation, so that nothing interests people more than people, even if only one’s own person. Every intelligent individual wants to know what makes him tick, and yet is at once fascinated and frustrated by the fact that one’s self is the most difficult of all things to know. (Watts, 1966) The unexamined life is not worth living. (Socrates) If people in leadership positions aren’t learning, growing and adapting, they are falling behind. They fall behind in a number of ways. The skills they learned earlier in life may no longer be relevant. Their followers may have changed as new cohorts come through and are no longer responsive to the old methods. The challenges that their competitors present may become overwhelming. More profoundly, their assumptions about the way the world works may become inaccurate. Technology...
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