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Self-Centered vs. Self-Aware Leaders

Recently, the topic of self-centeredness has become more frequent with my leadership development clients.

A couple of my executive coaching clients received 360-degree feedback, that they were perceived as being self-absorbed.

It came as a surprise as they didn’t perceive themselves that way and were quite upset. In the modern workplace where teamwork, collaboration and focusing on “we” is highly valued, being perceived as focusing on self-interest can be hazardous to your career.

My executive coaching clients frequently tell me they want to help create a collaborative culture with greater engagement, innovation and better working relationships. We generate ideas on how to make that happen.

Self absorption is defined as caring only about one's own self and one's own activities and not showing interest in the rest of the world. An example of self-absorption is when you go on and on to your friend about your problems without asking how she is.

Self-Centered vs. Self-Aware Leaders

We have all worked for self-centered leaders. Completely self-absorbed, they hesitate to delegate, they often have poor listening skills, and they tend to make unilateral decisions without understanding the situation.

As members of their staffs, we spend inordinate amounts of time feeding their egos (versus getting things done). Being self-centered is human nature, and leaders need to become self-aware to avoid the pitfalls of being self-centered.

Self-aware leaders make an effort to see themselves as their employees see them. They understand how their actions and moods will be perceived, and they make an effort to project the best possible attitude at all times.

Self-aware leaders are tuned into their staffs, and understand that their actions are over-analyzed and sometimes misunderstood. Self-awareness drives them to listen better, communicate more and delegate well.

To be an effective leader, you must be self-aware and not self-centered. Executive Coaching for improving emotional intelligence can help.

Dr. Maynard Brusman

Consulting Psychologist and Executive Coach|
Trusted Advisor to Executive Leadership Teams
Emotional Intelligence & Mindful Leadership Workplace Expert

Are you an executive leader who wants to be more effective at work and get better results?

Did you know that research has demonstrated, that the most effective leaders model high emotional intelligence, and that EQ can be learned? It takes self-awareness, empathy, and compassion to become a more emotionally intelligent leader. 

Over the past thirty-five years, I have coached hundreds of leaders to improve their leadership effectiveness.

After only 6 months, one executive coaching client reported greater productivity, and more stress resiliency helping her company improve revenues by 20%. While this may depend on many factors most of my clients report similar satisfaction in their EQ leadership competence leading to better business results.

For more information, please go to, write to, or call 415-546-1252.

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