Becoming a Leader Worth Following – Part 1

Abraham Gin discusses how self awareness can impact our leadership



Meghan: Welcome to another HMC Healthworks podcast. I’m Meghan Steckowski and joining me today is Abraham Gin. Welcome.

Abraham: Hi. Thank you.

Meghan: I’m really looking forward to our discussion today. You are a GiANT liaison, and we are going to be working on a three-part series called becoming a leader worth following.

Abraham: I’m excited to actually be here today and talk about self-awareness and how that can really impact our leadership.

Meghan: And Abraham, you’re the CEO of Gin Consulting and I understand that you specialize in guiding individuals really on charting their own growth and self-awareness and using that self-awareness continuously to improve their home and their work life.

Abraham: Yeah, it is something I really have a passion for. We focus on three areas. One is helping with strategic planning, the other one is really an activation of people and their systems, account optimization development and the third is really more marketing and really helping to amplify their voice.

Meghan: Well, I’m really excited to tap into your skill set today and our first topic is knowing yourself to lead yourself. So, we will take a deep dip into that and it’s really all about leadership and we aren’t just talking about people whose titles are CEO or other leaders of their businesses but it is all about how leadership is more of an action or an example and how knowing yourself is really the foundation to being able to lead yourself. So, what is the best way to start getting to know ourselves?

Abraham: Now, I think the best way is to kind of visualize it first, you know? The sign of the visual representation that we actually use is an infinity loop and in the first little loop of that circle what we find is that we put to ‘know yourself’ and in the other loop we say ‘lead yourself’ and the reason we use an infinity loop is because it is a forever process of knowing yourself to lead yourself. To know yourself to lead yourself and you don’t ever really graduate from it. The school of self-awareness is a perpetual school that you have to continue to enter into and you never graduate. And it’s probably a bit of a nightmare for most of you because I don’t know about you guys but when I got my last degree I was like Wahoo, no more school. But, this is a school that you never ever graduate from and so that is really where we need to start with. Do we have the humility to recognize this is a forever process and unless you continue to really want to know yourself and then to really want to change yourself, you will never become a leader worth following.

Meghan: I think you are absolutely right. You really have to be curious enough and then really brave enough to start this journey because it is never ending and that can definitely seem pretty daunting. So how do we get started.

Abraham: So, the first part, we just talked about two pretty big concepts. Let me just break it down a little bit. Know yourself is the concept where you know you truly understand your reality.  I think that’s the basis of what humility is all about you really care about the reality both being honest with your weakness and your strength and for that to happen you need to actually desire quantitative and qualitative feedback. Meaning you need to be able to add some measurements and metrics of how you are doing with all the circles of your influence that could be in your work life in your home life in your community. As well as ask for qualitative data which is basically asking them to give them more feedback in interview style and allow them to actually engage in giving you some anecdotal evidence of how you have been towards them and that gives you a good mirror to see your tendency and the more and more we actually have that humble hungry spirit to say we really want know what the feedback and of what true feedback and the true data sets are in regards to our current leadership landscape then we can be able to start to take the journey of self-leadership. Taking where we are at and the benchmark to how we are relating to people and start to lead ourselves in a different way. When I say leadership, I think people are already kind of like check out and they say, hey this is only just for those who are position leaders. I’m saying anytime you have influence. Anytime you actually are working and you’re connecting with people and you have anytime of influential dynamics you have leadership. You’re either self-leading yourself, your leading within your family or leading within your friends or your colleagues or even if you have a position of leadership that is great but we all have a scope of leadership and influence.

Meghan: So really what you are saying, we have to kind of put our feelings aside and ask people for their feedback and then really listen which I know can be challenging to open ourselves up like that. What you said is about tendencies, we know that tendencies don’t really change so really what you are saying is we are gathering more of just an awareness and then from there, we can start really knowing ourselves.

Abraham: Yeah. You know, I like how you said tendencies don’t change. There is a hard wiring, a natural  driveness and studies show there is a pattern to how you actually lean towards a certain way. Some of you love to give a lot of support, some of you guys give a lot of challenge, some of you have a lot of drive, some of you process things externally, some of you process more internally; all of that are tendencies, they are not good or bad, they just happen sometimes and as you have these natural tendencies, it will lead to specific patterns in your life.

Meghan: I can think of examples of people who do all of those different things, right? Process internal, process outwardly. So, once we start examining our tendencies, then we can start, I know we can’t change them but how can we work towards adjusting our actions?

Abraham: Yes, as you recognize what your natural baseline or your drivers are and you get that feedback from people and you create that safe space. Here’s the thing, if you don’t create that safe space, guess what? You’re not going to get feedback from people.

Meghan: Not authentic feedback.

Abraham: Yes, they won’t either give it to you or will give you sugar coated feedback because they know that you can’t handle it.  Right? And you wonder why sometimes people aren’t really telling you that, is because you haven’t created the safe space. And that is such an important thing in these days. Creating that safe space, psychological safety, making sure every voice is heard is such an important thing as someone who needs to make the right decisions. Everyone can make better decisions when you create the influx of that give and exchange of truth and if you can’t get that you’re not going to be able to make the right decision. We talked about tendencies.  After a while what you are able to start to do is recognize and you’re able to audit, you start to be aware of it, you can start to see the patterns in your life and if you can future pace and start see how would look like after a year or two years and then oh my gosh, I can totally see this pattern happening and it’s formed already. Then you can make a decision, is this the future that I really want?  Is this what I want to sustain in my relationship or my work and I think at that point then you can start to know the drivers of your tendencies that can led to a certain pattern and you can start to then make some calibrated actions that can change the path of your future.

Meghan: Do you have an example you can share with us that would help put this in a real-life situation?

Abraham: Absolutely. I know we talked about a little bit more about the concept and the different components of know yourself to lead yourself. I’ll give you an example just more at home. I naturally love to make things better. I like to fix things. I like to bring constructive feedback to make me feel like I’m maximizing my influence, maximizing my gifts and my strengths and so I take that good intention and I start to work with my sons. We’re teaching them baseball and trying to have them swing to hit the ball and for my first born when I go into that coaching mode and say hey son you got to move your legs here and position your arms here and he’s like oh Daddy this is awesome, I’m growing and is this how you do it? He loves that feedback and he likes that critique to make him better and he thrives from that. However, I do the same exact tendency to my other son and literally he is crying and weepy and he’s like I never want to play baseball so for one tendency I’m actually leading and engaging my son is actually awesome and is liberating for him but for the other one it is actually crushing and so I realized, oh my gosh, if I keep fixing things little by little at a hard to serve and love my second born who is little softer spoken it actually would crush him. So, I had to realize, hey it may have worked with my first born but my second born, I had to change my patterns and lead my actions in a different way which I have to do a lot more affirmation and love and saying, you know I love you right? And I had to stop actually critiquing him for a bit until he felt this trust and I was able then to have this different consequence where he was actually leaning into my relationship with him instead of being pushed away.

Meghan: Wow, that is a great example and so true not just at home but also you know at work. As leaders we have to be self- aware of our effect on others but also you know we have to lead each person we are with and interact in different ways. You just took us to a whole other level there Abraham and I really appreciate it. Let’s talk a little bit about reality, right? We’ve got the tendencies, the action the consequences and that simple thought of, what is it like to be on the other side of me?

Abraham: If you start at the beginning place for everything this is to really to look and assess your reality. Any time you don’t like the consequences of your life or the current reality of your situation that’s just where you need more feedback. We talked about getting that qualitative and quantitative feedback and if you can’t get that data set to really understand what clearly is your landscape of your terrain of what you are leading yourself into the guess what? You’re not going to know enough information to lead yourself and so it is kind of this circular process of knowing your reality to your tendencies, going into understanding your patterns, changing our actions and starting to have a new consequence and hopefully that leads to more life in your work and family and life in general versus death, brokenness, and destruction.

Meghan: and chaos and tears. Well great, thank you. Abraham, you have given us so much to think about and I really appreciate your time and expertise. Thanks for joining us today.