The Leadership Journey to Self-Awareness Superpowers

The Leadership Journey to Self-Awareness Superpowers

Leading author and well-known speaker John Maxwell states, “In leadership, the first person we must examine is ourselves. That’s the Mirror Principle. If our self-perception is distorted, then our attempts to influence others will be misguided or even manipulative” (Man in the Mirror, John Maxwell blog). We hear it all the time, self-awareness is one of the most desired qualities in leadership. Technical skills can be learned overtime; whereas, the self-awareness superpower is something that’s going to solve all our leadership challenges!  YAY superpowers!

As a skill set, self-awareness gives leaders the ability to recognize and understand not only their emotions (and reactions to other’s emotions) and motivators, but how those “feelings” (ugh, right?) factor into how they make decisions and handle crisis situations.  Let’s face it, most leaders don’t spend the day running around spreading fairy dust and spouting poetry, right? If so, best job ever!

Setting the Tone for Leadership

In the real world, our leaders are spending time putting out five alarm fires, sitting in (what seems like endless) meetings, and talking stressed out team members off the proverbial ledge. Evenings consist of answering the 496 new emails, all marked urgent, which came in during actual work hours.  Along with answering the emails that so urgently need your attention, you are also helping your 5th grader with their “new” math problems.  What the heck is this “new” math and when did it get so difficult? Just in case you aren’t familiar with new math, check out this video.

New math aside, leadership sets the overall tone for your organization (even more so for their direct reports) ultimately impacting your potential to successfully meet goals. With our leaders oftentimes running fast on the management treadmill throughout the day, it’s important they recognize how their leadership is showing up and impacting achievement of important goals. Leaders have the choice in determining how to show up and how to manage the daily challenges of leadership in the fast-paced corporate world. Would you like to learn more about your leadership style and how it impacts your professional and personal life?  If positively impacting your career sounds exciting, let’s talk more about iPEC’s Seven Levels of Leadership and how they show up for you throughout the day.

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iPEC’s Seven Levels of Leadership

First things first, the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC) ( is an International Coaching Federation (ICF) certified coach training provider.  iPEC developed an extensive leadership coaching program based on the Seven Levels of Energy Leadership as briefly outlined below. In order to accurately determine your average resonating level (ARL) of energy leadership and your default levels during times of stress, we recommend taking the iPEC Energy Leadership Index Assessment and the associated debrief.  

The following starts with the lower (negative) levels of energy leadership and works up to the higher (positive) levels of leadership as you progress through the scale. As you read through them, notice which ones resonate with you or leaders of your organization and note if there are more positive or negative leadership influences in your organization. Note, self-aware leaders have the ability to access the advantages in each of the  levels of leadership throughout the day as situations warrant.

  • Level 1 – The Victim (I lose)

    • Frame of Reference: I am powerless. Why bother, failure follows me everywhere. I’m at the effect of life and others in it.

    • Leadership Characteristics: Work in crisis mode, always dealing with problems. Leaders have little or no passion or commitment to the company’s mission. No real plan for where they are going. Generally poor communication skills. Struggle to motivate others. Negative attitude and brings down morale of group.

    • Advantage of Leadership Characteristics: Receive attention and sympathy from others. Don’t assume responsibility for negative events.

    • Disadvantages of Leadership Characteristics: Little or no engagement and encounters difficulty effecting change.

  • Level 2 – The Fighter (I win, you lose)

    • Frame of Reference: I must protect myself, it’s a dog-eat-dog world out there. I must control all aspects, there are threats everywhere.

    • Leadership Characteristics: Micromanage, are bossy, condescending, ignores others’ responses, authoritarian, judgmental. Negative attitude and brings down the morale of the group.

    • Advantages of Leadership Characteristics: Aggressive behavior and can get a lot done by self. Motivates others by aggression, fear and force.

    • Disadvantages of Leadership Characteristics: Cannot inspire others without force/fear resulting in high levels of dissatisfaction, disengagement and/or high turnover.

  • Level 3 – The Rationalizer (I win – if you win too, great!)

    • Frame of Reference: I am in control of my life and know how to “play the game.” I’m sure I can convince them to see it my way (persuades). Better to lie and avoid rather than face conflict.

    • Leadership Characteristics: Generally have positive attitudes and are productive. General understanding of emotions and manage them within themselves and others.

    • Advantages of Leadership Characteristics: They don’t allow others to stand in the way of what they want. Ability to engage others with promises and hopes.

    • Disadvantages of Leadership Characteristics: Self-concerning. Not concerned if things don’t work out because they “did their best.”

  • Level 4 – The Caregiver (You Win!)

    • Frame of Reference: We can work this out – there’s no need to control anything. I can do better or be a better person.

    • Leadership Characteristics: Form deep connections with co-workers. Staff members respect them and see them as trustworthy. Treat team members as if they were family.

    • Advantages of Leadership Characteristics: Takes little personally. Truly cares for and helps everyone to function as best they can.

    • Disadvantages of Leadership Characteristics: Can get caught up in the drama/sympathetic. Motivation is more about being liked than being productive.

  • Level 5 – The Opportunist (We both win!)

    • Frame of Reference: Success comes from within. Each person has their own unique ability to be successful. I want to make a difference to as many people as possible.

    • Leadership Characteristics: Powerful, inspiring and skilled at capitalizing on whatever opportunities present themselves.  Leaders command greatness from others. Positive attitudes. Look to build partnerships and alliances.

    • Advantages of Leadership Characteristics: Finds opportunities in all challenges. Takes little to nothing personally.

    • Disadvantages of Leadership Characteristics: Paralysis by analysis. Disengaged from emotions.

  • Level 6 – The Visionary (Everyone always wins!)

    • Frame of Reference: There is power in partnerships – together we can do great things. Continue to learn about self-awareness and others.

    • Leadership Characteristics: True visionary. Lead more by presence than by actions. They seem to know all that’s going on in their organization without having to ask. Powerful, yet humble. Keen sense of intuition and use it to make decisions.

    • Advantages of Leadership Characteristics: Ability to see all staff members as equal to themselves and recognize gifts in all team members. They help others realize their true potential, generating a team of genuine and deeply committed partners – not just workers.

    • Disadvantage of Leadership Characteristics: Might not be as grounded and could be risk takers.

  • Level 7 – The Creator

    • Frame of Reference: Leaders can view their organization with complete objectivity. They are passionate about all aspects of life and do not seek rewards for work.

    • Leadership Characteristics: Genius thinking and are known for spontaneous creation of brilliant work.

    • Advantages of Leadership Characteristics: Ability to quickly create – generate ideas or solutions.

    • Disadvantages of Leadership Characteristics: Can be perceived by others as being disconnected.

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Want to Learn More?

Like it or not, we are all leaders in our everyday life.  How you perceive the world and manage (or get managed by) your emotions determines your level of happiness and success both personally and professionally.  Would you like to take charge of your own success and that of your organization? Key Elements Consulting can offer various assessments, debriefs and coaching services to help you determine where you are as a leader currently and how to achieve your goals. These services can be offered on an individual basis or in a group setting.

Here are the assessments Key Elements Consulting currently offers:

  • Energy Leadership Index – Individual Attitudinal Assessment

  • Energy Leadership Index 360 – Individual and/or Group Assessment

  • DiSC – Personality Assessment, Individual and 360

To learn more about the assessments and coaching packages we offer, please reach out to us!

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