Just as people don’t need another book on the health benefits of increasing exercise and eating more vegetables, leaders don’t need another book on good management practices. What’s missing is an exploration of the links between knowledge about leadership principles and the personal values and attitudes that underlie them.
Hanging the Mirror: The Discipline of Reflective Leadership embarks on such an exploration. Viewing leadership growth as a profoundly transformative process, Hanging the Mirror challenges leaders to unfreeze their current thinking, reconsider their operating assumptions, and adopt new behaviors. Drawing on behavioral research as well as our 25 years of management consulting experience, Hanging the Mirror challenges leaders to take an honest look at their behavior and the way it shapes the human systems they head. It suggests that a searching reexamination of fundamental convictions and beliefs is key to bridging the divide between knowledge and action.
Hanging the Mirror lays out a discipline of reflective leadership that any leader can adopt. It is a process of gaining self-knowledge and developing self-mastery with the goal of becoming an ever more effective leader of people. It prompts leaders to:
- Candidly identify the values and beliefs that shape their behavior
- Objectively compare those values to what is known, through research, about leading people effectively
- Look at their moment-by-moment leadership choices (their beliefs in action) to determine whether they truly believe what they think they believe
- Rethink beliefs that run counter to knowledge and make different knowledge-based leadership choices.
Eschewing quick fix solutions, Hanging the Mirror demonstrates that the preeminent challenge facing leadership is improving daily choices through ongoing reflection and contemplation.
Because lasting transformation is never achieved without effort, Hanging the Mirror does not aim to be an easy read. It seeks to challenge, stretch and even confront its readers. But herein lies its value. As one of our clients once told another, “This isn’t for everyone. They push and push and then push some more. But if you’re ready for it, it’s like nothing you’ve seen before.