Perception Of Personal Leadership

You know what “they” say … perspective is everything; perception is reality.

If that’s true – we ought to pay attention to the way we are perceived.

What would others say about your capacity to lead?perceptionpersonaleadership

How do others perceive you?

As uncomfortable as this question may be, it is an important question if you want to lead effectively … because we all lead someone. We lead our families, or our teams, or ourselves, but we lead someone.

You will find a endless stream of resources on leading others and/or leading organizations, but you hear much less about personal leadership, though I would argue in order to be exceptional at leading others, you must also be able to lead yourself.

Personal leadership is a layered topic and it hinges on our capacity to be self-aware – the hallmark of “Emotional Intelligence”.  Most of us have a basic understanding of the importance of Emotional Intelligence (also known as EQ) and you have probably heard this concept talked about in your circles, or at the very least you instinctively know when someone lacks self-awareness.

Howard Gardner, an influential Harvard theorist, talked about EQ as “…the ability to understand other people, what motivates them and how to work cooperatively with them”; emotional Intelligence is our ability to perceive, evaluate, and control our emotions.  Some experts claim that it is an ingrained characteristic and cannot be changed, while others argue it can evolve over time – ultimately it is up to you to decide.

We all know this guy (or girl): a CEO or Director who leads an organization and who has absolutely no idea how he/she is received by people. They walk into a full room, deliver the quarterly strategy, insult half of the people in the room, and leave oblivious to the jaws on the floor and the morale in the gutter.

This example is a radical absence of self-awareness and it isn’t charming or effective.

The cliché “ignorance is bliss” is very true; it is much easier to find fault with others instead of looking at ourselves. It is easier to make excuses and justify our actions, but avoiding looking in the mirror does not foster the kind of leadership that changes people and it is settling for less than what you are capable of.

Perhaps that CEO sounds familiar or perhaps you recognize yourself in the description – I know I do. I have sometimes been painfully unaware of how I am being received (and perceived) by others and replaying those experiences makes me cringe – repeatedly. And I am certain they will happen again because I am…well, human.

Let me also acknowledge that just because someone struggles with self-awareness, it does not mean he/she cannot be an effective leader.  There are plenty of effective CEO’s who fit the description of “that guy”, but it does mean is there is a dimension to their leadership that lacks a certain depth of connection and engagement.

Self-awareness is difficult and requires courage but it is a non-negotiable if you want to lead effectively.

Experiment with it.

Choose to suspend any self-judgment and start watching how you feel and what your corresponding response is.  Why not start observing your motivations and patterns without critique..

  • Do you ‘hijack’ conversations and interject to feel superior?
  • Do you seek recognition from others to camouflage your faults?
  • Do others perceive you as open, approachable, authoritative (or whatever adjectives you strive for) ?
  • Will you ask someone you trust and respect completely what he or she thinks?  (This is an act of unbridled courage!)

Trust in the freedom and power that comes with being able to see yourself more objectively.

Trust the people in your inner circle to be your barometer.

Trust that recognizing your internal thought processes and patterns allows you to let go of the ones that no longer serve you (or anyone else).

Trust that in doing these things, you will create the space you need to become a more effective leader.



This post was not original to #bealeader. This post was originally published on Carol Roth’s site on February 20th. #bealeader was not made aware of the publication on site prior to publication by the author.

Cate Moore

Cate Moore

Author, Entrepreneur and CMO at Cate Moore
Cate Moore is an author, senior sales professional, & entrepreneur with over 18 years of experience in pharmaceutical sales/marketing and small business. She is the Chief Marketing Officer at DelShen Therapeutics Corp – a leader in Canadian Medical Marijuana. She is the author of the popular e-Book: “I’m not beautiful like you, I’m beautiful like me.” - a free, downloadable guide on authenticity, entrepreneurship, and beauty. She is the past president and founder of Tru Vitality Clinic, a medical spa with an iconoclastic business model as well as a holistic approach to aging gracefully. Cate is a regular contributor to several online publications and blogs and has her own blog . She often presents on courageously authoring our own stories, health & wellness, and the success that comes from living authentically in life, love, and business.
Cate Moore
Cate Moore




  • February 24, 2014


    “Trust the people in your inner circle to be your barometer” this is what resonates with me, and is a key part of Mentoring ~ you are a barometer for your Mentee! Thanks for a great contribution, Cate.

  • February 24, 2014


    MarkSFernandes thanks for the RT, Mark.

  • February 24, 2014


    Thanks for sharing your thoughts TRU_Vitality. It’s a great read and a great reminder. #bealeader

  • February 24, 2014


    Nice to read you, Cate! LOL, oh yes, I have become aware, too many times, that how I am perceived was not the intended reaction because of my own actions or words (usually “tone”). I had never heard of EQ before I became part of Social Media and spending so much time online. Now? I understand the term and its importance. 

    Looking and studying inward isn’t easy. Being honest about what we find when we do look inward is even harder for some. I know that when I began to understand how important it was for me, in any one of the positions I hold in my own life, to completely understand myself, was the moment I began to truly grow in all those positions. It still isn’t easy and habits are horrid things to break and make, but I am sure that some of these feelings of freedom and happiness I feel are completely because of this step.

    Thank you for this post, Cate.

  • February 24, 2014


    TRU_Vitality I will be “leading” my daughter in about 4 weeks as she becomes a mother…hope I do it right!

  • February 24, 2014


    DaisyDMGH that’s so special, Daisy! When I had all 3 of our babies, my mom’s presence gave me peace. You are a gift to her already. xo

  • February 25, 2014


    ThinDifference TRU_Vitality gingerconsult >Great article – Why not start observing your motivations and patterns without critique?

  • February 25, 2014


    LinaDuqueMBA Thank you Lina!

  • February 25, 2014


    myODforum ThinDifference gingerconsult I had a great mentor, Andrea (cc TimWKrause : :)

  • February 25, 2014


    TRU_Vitality ThinDifference gingerconsult TimWKrause >Sounds like you benefited lots!

  • February 25, 2014


    TRU_Vitality myODforum ThinDifference gingerconsult Thank you, my dear friend! It has been a true pleasure working alongside you.

  • March 1, 2014


    TRU_Vitality So wonderful Cate – thank you! #bealeader

  • March 4, 2014


    RT jess_dewell Perception Of Personal Leadership #bealeader via gingerconsult