Read About Our Philosophy in Dr. Ranjit Nair's book, 'The Potluck Culture'


Leadership and the 4 Philosophers

Dr. Ranjit Nair
Dr. Ranjit Nair Founder and CEO

A study conducted by leading consultancies (McKinsey, Deloitte, PwC) as well as from renowned think tanks (World Economic Forum, Josh Bersin, Center for Creative Leadership), global CEOs strongly believe that self-awareness is a required competency to thrive in the post-pandemic and AI-infused world of work This fast-evolving workplace demands a new set if leadership competencies to become the leaders needed to drive innovation and unleash creativity. These competencies cannot be realized without the leader having a sound foundation of self-awareness.

Know Thyself

Philosophy and its teachings can reveal a great deal about the power of self-awareness. Self-awarness is the foundation of being a true and authentic leader. Socrates - the Greek philosopger - once said that the secret to happiness and the purpose of life is to know yourself. “Know thyself,” he proclaimed. Of course, we now know that Socrates in his infinite wisdom meant knowing oneself is much more than knowing what we look like physically such as the color of our eyes or hair and our height. He meant we must know what our natural inclinations are, our behaviors, and how we present ourselves to others and the world. In essence, Socrates' phrase "Know Thyself" emphasizes the importance of self-knowledge as the foundation for acquiring other knowledge. He believed that individuals often lack understanding of concepts due to their lack of self-knowledge. By understanding oneself, Socrates argued that one can gain a better understanding of others and the world. This maxim is also associated with his idea of "Socratic ignorance", where acknowledging one's own ignorance is the first step towards wisdom. Lastly, it's linked to his theory of recollection, suggesting that knowledge is innate and can be discovered within oneself.

Choose Thyself

Kierkegaard – the Dutch philosopher – went further and said it was not enough just to know thyself. “Choose Thyself,” he proclaimed. Knowing who we are and what we do is the first step, but we must also embrace who we are and not try to be someone else. We must accept and love ourselves for all we are and have and this includes our blind spots and weaknesses. Self acceptance is critical to feeling comfortable in your own skin. Being comfortable with your own personal style, strengths and shortcomings helps you to navigate the workplace more effectively, and feel better while you’re doing it. However, many leaders struggle to find that peaceful place of self acceptance. Embracing oneself - incidentally, is having what it takes to develop slef-esteem.

Grow Thyself

Mirandola – the Italian philosopher – went even further. It was not enough to just know oneself and embrace who we are. “Grow Thyself,” he proclaimed. What he meant is that we cannot be the best of who we are without constantly learning and growing. We must hone our skills and develop core leadership competencies to enhance our talent and ability. We all have natural talent but we must appreciate who we are, understand our blind spots, grow our abilities, and leverage our strengths to mitigate our weaknesses. A big part of our growth is knowing what natural talents we bring to the table and then build on them. We could spend an inordinate number of hours practicing something but if we did not do so on the right foundation, we will never reach our true potential.

Give Thyself

So, we must know ourselves, choose ourselves, and grow ourselves. But there’s more. The philosophy of life and spiritualism teaches that we must also give back and be there for others. “Give Thyself” is the proclamation. We cannot be the best version of ourselves and certainly not the leader we want to be nor the leader the world needs without being present for others, actively listening to others, asking questions, learning from others, appreciating differing perspectives or alternative viewpoints, being culturally curious and having an open and global mindset. We have the ability to deeply know who we are and can choose to embrace who we are, and even develop ourselves….if we do not you can develop it to positively impact somebody else’s life, we can never become the leader we can be and that the post-pandemic and AI-infused world of work needs. In fact, without doing so, we cannot even call ourselves leaders.

Self-awareness is the most important skill in leadership. It’s in self-awareness that we understand where we are in life, how you progress, and how we collaborate and bring others with us.

About the Author:

Dr. Ranjit Nair is the Founder and CEO of Potluck Culture Solutions. "We have the tools, resources and talent to help develop leaders through our signature “High-Performing Leader Program (HPLP). From behavioral styles to DISC profiles, workplace motivators to emotional intelligence, the HPLP Leader uses several different assessments to help emerging leaders tackle the challenges in the modern workplace, respond to problems and ever-present change, influence others, and build a more just world."

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