The Person Leaders Really Need To Know by Richard Metheny

The Person Leaders Really Need To Know

Self Awareness is the Deciding Factor in Your Success
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An executive coach urges business leaders to develop better self-awareness, providing case studies, exercises, and more in this self-help guide.

A human resources consultant who has spent more than 3,000 hours coaching executives, Metheny (Solution-Focused Leadership: Coaching Employees to Generate Solutions, 2014) notes that business leaders’ lack of self-awareness is often a “disaster waiting to happen.” He provides an overview of research studies regarding the importance of this quality in business, touching on several helpful organizational psychology evaluation/assessment tools. He shares many of his own stories as well as those of his clients (first names only) who have effectively dealt with career challenges by becoming more aware of “default settings,” or unconscious thoughts, behaviors, and values. For example, one of Metheny’s clients was often frustrated with his team but then realized he had unconscious “rules,” including that everyone should pitch in during a work crunch. Once this leader articulated his rules, everyone was less stressed and performed more effectively. To help others with this critical personal development work, Metheny suggests an array of mindfulness exercises, including how to recognize and thus re-evaluate one’s “default stories” and conduct morning and evening check-ins with oneself. He stresses the importance of soliciting regular feedback (preferably on a quarterly basis and from a range of people) and of adopting the perspective of “neutral thinking,” i.e., not to be self-critical but instead be open to the “complex symphony” of the ongoing journey of self-knowledge. While the subject of this book is certainly not news, Metheny has created an engaging narrative that, particularly in the context of his own personal revelations, demonstrates the power of enhanced self-awareness in and of itself. His examples from his client base, as well as his own life, are relevant and relatable, with some nifty road-tested ideas (such as one exec’s personal “Stupid Box” used to record and store complaints, which curbed his career-damaging outbursts at others). While Metheny sometimes circles the same points, his book is on the whole a wonderful guide to improving mindfulness in business and overall life.

An enlightening, smart personal development primer.

Publisher: Manuscript
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 2016


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