A message from Xan Pearson:

At CTLF, we believe that HEART is essential to developing better business leaders who, in turn, create better companies resulting in a positive impact on their employees, their communities, and ultimately the world. Self-awareness is an integral part of becoming a HEART-level leader. Business leaders who are self-aware understand their strengths and weaknesses well, which helps them make better decisions, build stronger relationships, and create a more positive organizational culture.

In her book, Insight: The Surprising Truth About How Others See Us, How We See Ourselves, and Why the Answers Matter More Than We Think, Dr. Tasha Eurich outlines seven distinct types of insight that self-aware leaders possess that unaware people don’t—values, passions, aspirations, fit, patterns, reactions, and impact. She refers to these as “The Seven Pillars of Insight.”

  1. Values are the principles or beliefs that guide how we want to live our lives.
    Values guide our behavior and decision-making. Understanding our values is key to living our values. As a business leader, are you making decisions that align with your values? This is essential to building trust and credibility with your team, clients, and stakeholders.
  2. Passions are the activities and interests that bring you joy and fulfillment.
    Understanding your passions can help you find meaning and purpose in your work, which in turn, can motivate and inspire your team. As Simon Sinek said, “Joy and fulfillment come from that feeling that every day our work is contributing to something bigger. Passion, like profit, is a result. When we commit ourselves to some higher purpose, some higher cause, passion is the result.”
  3. Aspirations are the goals and ambitions you have for yourself and your organization.
    As Tasha points out, while setting goals is relatively easy, they don’t always lead to true insight or perfect happiness. Instead of asking “What do I want to achieve?” the better question is “What do I really want out of life?” We can wake up each morning feeling motivated and live better lives by understanding what we want to experience and accomplish while we are on this planet. The same is true in your work. By understanding your organizational aspirations, we can create a vision for the future, motivate your employees around a shared purpose, and develop strategies to achieve your goals.
  4. Fit is the match between your personality, strengths, and interests, and the demands of your role as a leader.
    What is the role and environment you need to be happy, energized, and engaged? Are you in a role that plays to your strengths and aligns with your values and aspirations? Are your employees in roles that align with theirs? One great assessment I’ve found that helps to analyze your and your employees’ fit is the Predictive Index Assessment.
  5. Patterns refer to the recurring behaviors or tendencies that you exhibit in different situations.                  By understanding your patterns, you can identify any negative or ineffective behaviors and make changes to improve your leadership effectiveness.
  6. Reactions are your emotional responses to different situations.
    They are the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that reveal our strengths and weaknesses. When we take time to thoroughly understand our reactions, we can better manage and monitor our emotions and responses. It allows us to engage with our employees and stakeholders in more constructive ways and build stronger relationships.
  7. Impact refers to the effect you have on others, the organization as a whole, and your community.
    The key skill Tasha identified that we need to develop to read our impact is “perspective-talking”, or the ability to imagine what others are thinking or feeling. This outward versus inward self-check reminds us of the importance of having a positive effect on our employees, colleagues, clients, and broader community.

The importance of self-awareness in becoming an effective HEART-level business leader can’t be overstated. By spending time evaluating the seven pillars, you can develop a deeper understanding of yourself as a business leader, your strengths and weaknesses, and make decisions and take actions that align with your values and goals.

As Adam Grant said in his TED Talk last year,

“What we need in leaders is not confidence, but confident humility. It’s being secure enough in your knowledge to recognize your ignorance—and secure enough in your strengths to acknowledge your weaknesses.”


This is only a small snapshot of how business leaders can become more self-aware. Join us on April 20th for CTLF’s Spring Signature Event from 8am-11am at Social Capitol in Arvada, where Dr. Tasha Eurich will share more about how self-awareness is one of the most critical traits in leadership with her talk, “The Power of Insight: How Self-Awareness Helps Leaders Connect & Grow.”