How to Expand Leaders with the Many-Selves Idea

I’m capable of many responses to the same situation. Some responses are noble and others, disadvantageous and self-defeating.

Smart people are capable of self-destructive behaviors.

Many selves:

I have many selves inside me. I have a compassionate self and an irritable self, for example.

Unpredictable social situations bring out my insecure-self. I might choose to be quiet. Occasionally, I bolster my courage by tooting my own horn.

I’m best when I bring my curious-self to social situations, as long as I include banter. Machine gun questioning feels like the inquisition. Others wonder, “What’s this guy after?” (I’m not good at chit-chat, but I’m learning.)

I have a curious-self, a quiet-self, and a bragging-self, to name a few.

Conflicting emotions:

I’m capable of conflicting emotions. I’m anxious AND confident when I step in front of groups.

Fear does good things for me. Fear of failure drives preparation. Fear keeps me on my toes.

The dark side of fear is defensiveness.

It’s self-destructive when I compensate for fear by excluding or offending.

Bringing out the best self in others:

Use the many-selves idea to expand the people around you.

A manager might shine with customers and offend staff. How might an offensive manager bring their customer-facing self to employees, for example?

You might ask an offensive manager, “What enables you to connect with customers?” And, “How might you bring those qualities to employee relationships?”

Maximizing the best self:

When a colleague is fearful, ask, “What might your courageous-self ask you to do next?

When a supervisor is bitter, ask, “What does your forgiving-self tell you to do?

When an executive has a closed mind, ask, “What’s the next thing your adventurous-self might do?”

When a manager is vindictive, ask, “What is your compassionate-self calling you to do next?

What’s uncomfortable about the many-selves idea?

How might leaders help others bring their best selves to work?

Bonus material:

15 Tips to Get Better at Small Talk (Success)

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