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Harry Kraemer, Pt. II: How Do I Become My Best Self?

By: Bridgette W. Gottwald, LPC, NCC

If you read my last blog post, Harry Kraemer, Pt. I: How Do I Find Purpose and Satisfaction?, some of these concepts will look familiar to you. Part one of this two-part blog series discussed Harry Kraemer’s take on living and leading through a values-based life. It broke down the four principles that values-based leadership is built upon self-reflection, a balanced perspective, true self-confidence, and genuine humility.

Harry Kraemer, Pt. II: How Do I Become My Best Self Through Values-Based Leadership? 

True Self-Confidence

Although self-confidence is an important part of leadership in general, true self-confidence is the third principle of values-based leadership. According to Kraemer, it’s easy for many people to “fake” exterior confidence, but “behind the façade is a lack of conviction.” Truly self-confident people are comfortable and okay with saying things like “I don’t know” and “I was wrong” because they care more about doing what’s right rather than being right. 

In being a truly self-confident leader, transparency is key. To be fully transparent, this includes not only practicing transparency with others but also with yourself. It’s crucial to be aware of what we know and don’t know so that we can work in the direction of growth. No one likes a know it all!  

Genuine Humility 

Lastly, genuine humility is the fourth principle of values-based leadership. No matter what success comes your way, we must be truly humble and remember where we came from, even when you tend to attribute success to things like luck, good timing, or inherent skills. To avoid getting caught up in the hype, remember that you once started small, in a cubicle as a beginner with much to learn. Kraemer says that these types of people “don’t read their own press clippings.” 

Yes, be sensitive to the fact that you indeed have had success, yet continually connect your experiences of moving up the ranks and not having any of the answers. This gives you the ability to relate to all of your team members, no matter how different they may be. In turn, this will give you loyalty and respect. 

In terms of practicing humility as a therapist, I take a “novice therapist” approach. What does this mean? Well, no matter how long I have been on the job or working with a client, every session is different. If I approach my career with a “novice therapist” mindset, I am allowing myself to have more opportunities to learn. I am not an expert because I am always confronted with new people, situations, challenges, and relationships in session. The second I become an expert, I stop learning.  

Why Do These Four Principles Matter?

I’ve just thrown a lot of information at you, and if you’ve read my blogs before, you likely know that I love to “tie it all together” in a nice, pretty bow. These meaningful four principles of values-based leadership will allow you to become the best version of yourself. Only after you have reached the best version of yourself are you able to lead others effectively. 

Amidst leadership, always be aware of the three C’s – change, controversy, and crisis. Life will always throw you curveballs, something will always go wrong and if you stay “anchored” to doing the right thing and doing the best you can, you will pull through in the end. Most importantly as a leader, remember that your work is never done and continued growth will always be a part of the process. 

Reference: 

Kellogg (2021). Values-based leadership: Becoming your best self. Retrieved from: https://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/news_articles/2015/11102015-kraemer-values-based-leaders.aspx

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