A brief description of each chapter follows. It might be helpful to go through it to have a big picture of the book.
Part I: Taking Ownership of Our Personal Development
Chapter 1: Self-Leadership and Purpose
In our understanding, the core of personal leadership is not to know how to be a leader, but to live as a leader. We always say to our students that there is a fundamental difference between learning about leadership and developing leadership skills. There are many ways to think about leadership, and Dr. Rivera has coined his own: “Leadership is the art of achieving outstanding results through others, serving others and becoming the best of you.” The authors kept in mind this definition during the writing up of the whole workbook. In our understanding, there are three main pillars in self-leadership—three main drivers—that are the cornerstones of the underlying philosophy of this workbook: (1) self-awareness, (2) vision and scale of values, and (3) virtues and life balance.
This chapter elaborates further on the practical implications of your own understanding of self-leadership for your career choices and their management work.
Chapter 2: Self-Awareness: Understanding the Inner Self
The first step is the same as the Oracle pointed to Socrates: know yourself. Before any development process, we should find our natural aptitudes and values, and reinforce them. We must become the authors of our own life, our career, and our actions. Being owners of our own career plans means taking full responsibility for them. This could only start with an objective review of our current status. Self-awareness is the competence, which guarantees an open-minded and honest evaluation of our context, competencies, weaknesses, in-depth motivations, and other factors influencing our decisions.
The chapter elaborates on the different factors influencing our personality: temperament, personal values, and cultural background. Special attention is paid to the distinction between personality and character, and the practical consequences of the differences in training and personal development.
Chapter 3: Core Personal Values
The capacity of self-development is determined by three main factors: the development potential, the need for development, and the attitude toward development. The latter is the most relevant and is commonly expressed with the word motivation. Provided we have the opportunity, our development growth will be tied to our willingness to grow. Therefore, the key question is whether we want to grow, whether we are aware of the need to grow, and how far we want to satisfy this need.
This chapter elaborates in detail on the definition of core values and the characteristic set of values in long-term successful people. Further, it explains the different levels of values’ awareness and the connection between the level of values awareness, level of personal awareness, and level of personal development.
Chapter 4: Building a Personal Vision and Strategy
We can certainly create the conditions for an acceptable level of success and happiness, but nobody can control all the factors involved. Success happens, the same as happiness (Frankl 2017). Based on Viktor Frankl’s logotherapy school, this chapter will help you to understand the relevance and process of setting a broad though clear long-term vision for life and career.
The chapter will outline the most common challenges people face in this regard. The authors will emphasize the drawback of the so-called dogma of maximizing the choices. We are used to thinking that the more possibilities we have, the freer we are. However, experience defies this assumption. When the number of options is too large, we could become paralyzed and unable to make decisions.
Part II: Taking Ownership of Our Career Development
Chapter 5: Managing the Career by Personal Vision
How can we manage our careers through our personal vision? In Chapter 4, we speak about the personal mission to energize personal vision. In the current chapter, we will present a practical exercise in order to adjust our career to our vision. In other words, in the previous chapter, we discussed the why of our long-term plans, now we will deal with what.
This chapter will follow the kaleidoscope framework of Harvard professors Stevenson, H.H., and Nash, L.L. (2005). Just enough: Tools for creating success in your work and life book. The kaleidoscope helps users to see the whole picture of their current lives and understand what is missing to accomplish the vision that they have set for themselves. The framework uses a well-grounded definition of success, which is structured around four areas of life’s chambers: happiness, achievement, significance, and legacy.
Chapter 6: Assessment of Context and Competencies
For anyone who wants to improve his or her personal and career development, the assessment of context and competences is required. Competences are the observable, habitual behaviors that lead to success in a function or task (Rajadhyaksha 2005). Knowing the edge of our capital of competences is important. A high level of awareness of our competences could help us better manage the context where we operate.
The authors will discuss three fundamental issues in this chapter:
• The relevance of understanding our context
• The distinction between skills and competences
• You will be introduced to a tool to synthesize at a glance our career path
This chapter will assist you in understanding the professional anchors of your career and will offer a starting point for planning the way ahead. The core of the chapter is to understand the role of transitions and to complete a SWOT analysis of the current status of your career.
Chapter 8: Competencies Development Plan
This chapter will focus on how to create a competencies development plan, which effectively serves the vision created in Chapter 4, and will become a response to the SWOT of Chapter 7. You will have two important exercises that will help you to define your short-term action plan.
Chapter 9: Risk, Recovery, and Resilience
This final chapter of the second part of the book will deal with the most important competence for career development—resilience. The author defines resilience as the capacity to avoid adverse mental and physical outcomes following exposure to extreme stress or hardships.
Career development in the postindustrial era implies uncertainty, changes, and failures. Resilience has taken a fundamental role in executive training, as professionals are facing more frequently ups-and-downs and crises.
This chapter will briefly make a review of what literature understands for resilience and some of the best-known effects of crises. The most important part of the chapter will deal with how to build resilience and to make the best possible use of failure.
Part III: Taking Ownership of Our Daily Agenda
Chapter 10: Life Balance and Time Management
This chapter will deal with two concepts or frameworks for managing our lives or careers daily: emotional intelligence and virtuous leadership. The first is a concept popularized by D. Goleman; Alexandre Harvard has developed the latter. Both concepts have common roots though they depart from different premises. In practice, they complement each other, and they can offer a specific framework for everyday self-leadership.
After explaining the theoretical basis of both models, the authors will propose tools for diagnosis and reflection.
Chapter 11: Growing Through Coaching and Sports Spirit
We cannot live and succeed alone. This is the reason why this chapter deals with the relevance of the daily support of others on our ongoing personal and career development. The relevance of coaching and its basic principles will be outlined and explained.
The chapter focuses on coaching exercised on a daily basis by manager-coach or teacher-coach or professor-coach. Managers can lead without consideration of people’s development, considering people’s development or through people’s development. A manager-coach takes the later stance.