Self-Reflection – Cadet Zach Thomas and reflection in the Vietnam Memorial

One of the most important things about being a leader is to know yourself.  Over the years I have taken all sorts of personality and strengths tests like DISC, Myers-Briggs – MBTI, Strength-Finder, Right-Path (my favorite), and many more.  I absolutely love this stuff.   Ironically, I have discovered that I am a walking paradox…I am a right brained, introverted, task-driven, high D, ISFJ, relator.

Even though I don’t always agree with everything I read in these assessments, the more I can learn about myself the better.  I have also discovered it helps to ask others that know me, “am I really this way?”  If  you are willing to do that, you may be surprised by the answers.

In the process of learning more about myself, I have learned a lot about the personality and strengths of others.  This has helped me to understand others so that I can ultimately help them become the best version of themselves.

You’ve likely heard of the Golden Rule—Treat others the way YOU want to be treated. As Dr. Tony Alessandra has pointed out, this implies that other people would like to be treated the way that you would like to be treated. The alternative is the Platinum Rule—Treat others the way THEY want to be treated.  

Only one word is different, but the difference is staggering. Instead of giving everyone what you want, the Platinum Rule shifts the focus to others and what they want—and, more importantly, what they need.  This does not discredit the Golden Rule in any way, on the contrary, if we understand more about ourselves and others we will be able to engage others on a whole new level.

I challenge you to start the journey of self-reflection, “knowing self” and subsequently “knowing others” if you haven’t already.  However, it is important to not let the assessments define you, instead, use them to REFINE you.  I promise you will be a better leader as a result.


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