Become a Better Leader, Listen to Your Significant Other

An interesting new take on better leadership hits the shelves this month as top corporate psychologist and author Dr. Patricia Thompson advocates self awareness and introspection on a personal level to get the job done as a better leader on a professional level.

“It sounds a little strange, but I wrote this leadership book as a result of relationship breakup.”  Dr. Patricia Thompson, corporate psychologist and author says. “Five years ago, the end of a relationship with someone I thought I would marry caused me to really engage in some deep reflection. All of that introspection caused me to understand myself much more fully, resulting in valuable personal growth.”

On the surface, addressing behaviors outside of the office may have little impact at boardroom level but, achieving clarity personally is key to attaining improved leader status professionally says Dr. Thompson. “Although I was focusing entirely on myself on a personal level, the unintended side effect was that I got much better on the job.  I had a better understanding of my quirks, habits, strengths, and not-so-good aspects of myself. It allowed me to better understand my own biases, monitor my reactions with clients, and improve my ability to connect with and influence others.”

Having coached senior leaders for over 10 years, Thompson argues that self-awareness is the key to leadership excellence. “We’ve heard for years that self-awareness is necessary for strong leadership – it is the foundation for emotional intelligence and understanding the impact you have on others.”  “Yet,” she contends, “I’ve found that most leaders do not engage in the sort of self-reflection that allows them to have the level of self-awareness associated with consummate leadership.”

With busy schedules, competing priorities, and demands from shareholders vying for attention, she argues that many senior leaders simply don’t take the time to think about issues such as how their personal upbringing, values, and beliefs affect how they approach their work and the people they manage.  Further, many executives see their personal and professional lives as separate, and as a result, don’t reflect on how lessons learned in one area of their lives can be applied to make them more effective in other areas.

Dr. Thompson says this is a mistake. “During coaching sessions, it’s funny the number of times I hear things like, ‘My wife has been telling me this for years,’ or ‘Don’t tell me husband this – he will feel totally validated!’ While a lot of us might think the complaints of our significant others only impact our home lives, the reality is that we often unknowingly play out a lot of those same behaviors in the workplace.”

To address this need for greater self-knowledge, Dr. Thompson wrote the interactive and insightful leadership book, The Consummate Leader : a holistic guide to inspiring growth in others…and in yourself .  “The book is designed to take the reader on a journey to better self-understanding. While a lot of books simply focus on certain behaviors, I don’t know of another leadership book that takes a step-by-step approach to guide you through how to reflect on how areas like your experiences in childhood, worldview, spirituality, and beliefs inform how you lead.”

Dr. Thompson assures us that it doesn’t take years on a psychologist’s couch to gain the sort of insight of which she speaks. The book, which draws heavily on research, her years coaching corporate leaders, and personal experience, provides a thought-provoking and actionable template that readers can use to gain greater self-knowledge and overall effectiveness.

To find out more about The Consummate Leader or Dr Patricia Thompson herself, visit her website: