Know Yourself... And Others

In Touch - Newsletter - #27

Welcome to the twenty-seventh edition of "In Touch." As always, I would love to continue the conversation so please hit "reply" and let me know what you think.

Story of the Week: Know Yourself... And Others

After a recent training session, in which the course leader had offered participants a unique experience in terms of both content and delivery style, I couldn’t resist discussing with a friend what could, in my opinion, have made the leader – and the training session – even better. 

Since my friend is an expert in the topic that was at the heart of the session, I told him that I felt that the course leader could have prompted him and other similarly qualified participants to contribute more, for the overall benefit of the class. My friend’s response to this took me by surprise: he told me that one reason why he had enjoyed the course was precisely because the trainer hadn’t asked him to speak in public, since that was something that always made him really uncomfortable. 

The course leader clearly possessed an amazing capacity for empathy and one of the reasons why he was successful was that he understood that each and every individual is different and should therefore be treated differently, first and foremost to make them feel comfortable. He also knew that this was important if he was to get the most out of them. 

To ensure that, as a team leader, you get best out of your team members:

  1. Get to know yourself first:The first of the ancient maxims inscribed on a column at the entrance to the Temple of Apollon at Delphi is “Know Thyself”. In other words, before trying to understand others, it is wise to get to know yourself first. This is not as easy as it sounds! What helped me and will probably help you too is the Enneagram™ psychometric test. In addition, you can also ask those who work closely with you to tell you honestly how you contribute to (and perhaps hinder) the team’s success. Be willing to listen, learn and change your ways if necessary.
  2. Create psychological safety within your team: Psychological safety is the belief that you won't be punished or humiliated for speaking up, whether with ideas, questions, concerns, or to point out mistakes. It also means that you don’t feel vulnerable if you choose to keep quiet. In the training session that I attended with my friend, the course leader had provided psychological safety to the participants. What can you, as a team leader, do to give your team members psychological safety? One suggestion is to play a game in which you ask the following six questions:

Words of Wisdom

The basis of self-improvement is self-awareness:

"To grow yourself, you must know yourself."

John C. Maxwell

A Question to Ponder, dear friend.

“What is the one thing you can do today to help you better understand yourself and others?”

Hit reply and let me know.


  • Last week's webinar "From Adaptation to Transformation. How to unlock your managers' full potential" was an incredible success. Feel free to watch the replay here.
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  • The six questions on psychological safety mentioned above are from the impressive work of Jean Marie DiGiovanna.