Many leaders have the expertise to do their jobs. Usually, they have already proven that they can be effective or they would not be in leadership roles. The few that have skill gaps can be helped to either fill those gaps or move on to a different role or a different organization.
But most of the leaders who are not fulfilling their potential, or who are not a positive force in their organizations, exhibit a lack of self-awareness as well as a lack of understanding of others and of the psychology of the workplace. This may show in poor executive presence or style, lack of relationships with peers, inability to lead a team or be part of a team, failure to meet deadlines or accomplish goals, difficulties with communication, inability “to read the room,” no capacity to build alliances and partnerships, no sense of how they are being perceived by others, lack of an ability to influence, an appearance of not being fully engaged, angry outbursts, passive aggressive actions or other inappropriate behavior, and so on.
Leadership development should always focus first on increasing the self-knowledge of the leader. Knowing oneself deeply and honestly is the most powerful tool a leader can have. Helping executives to discover what is unconscious in themselves that serves as an Achilles heel is vital. What are they unaware of that may be limiting their vision, affecting their judgment, sabotaging their aspirations, impacting their relationships, and weakening their confidence and satisfaction? And it is important for them to realize that this vulnerability may be something that other people know about them that they remain blind to.
True self-knowledge is power; the lack of it is self-deception which always leaves a leader powerless and vulnerable to others not in a good way. Making what is unconscious conscious strengthens the rational mind and a leader can develop and grow in alignment. Good leadership is a continuous, evolving process.