The ‘Unattended Zone’

We live in a world that has a template or protocol for almost everything. That also applies to the designing and developing of the self as leader.

Our industries are shaped, moulded and often dictated by research, theories and regulations. It seems that in our world we are told how to be who we want to be – with restricted opportunity to engage independently in reflective imagination as we create ourselves.

We believe that we are climbing the ladder to success, developing our-self into the great leader, executive, supervisor that we desire to be. Often we are in fact hurtling our-self down the proverbial rabbit hole of self dissatisfaction.

At the intense crescendo points of our lives we find ourselves in turmoil and chaos wondering how we can be so unhappy with our-self when we have followed the ‘leader-construction’ instructions we were given so carefully?

We find ourselves confused that our leadership experience is not what it should be given that we have followed the instructions. We despair at how difficult it is to be this leader and be self-satisfied. So our human nature seeks understanding of this dissatisfaction by looking critically toward the instructions, the industry, the organisation, or worse still our followers.

Yet I would urge you, at these times to direct your attention to the gaps that exist in your design of yourself as a leader. It is these unattended zones in our awareness and self-insight that create our constant struggle to be the leader that we hoped we could become.

The ‘unattended zone’ is the absence of reflection about what you as a human being value, and how well those values have been incorporated into your creation of yourself as a leader of others. Are you a values-aligned leader?

When we allow this unattended zone to exist in our leadership-self we find ourselves performing in roles with great amount of influence yet impacting others in a way that does not sit with whom we are as people. This creates cognitive dissonance, discomfort and internal angst – a dissatisfied restlessness that festers and expresses itself in maladaptive ways.

How can we truly be an ‘authentic leader’ when we have not even established within ourselves what we highly value in our functioning as a human being? How can we make strategic decisions and execute organisational solutions when we have not consciously established the value parameters within which we are willing to and prefer to operate?

The positioning of values from one person to another vary greatly, and as such the qualities of each authentic leader should also vary greatly. This suggests that not all leaders – even if they are great leaders – are suitable for all positions. The value of the uniqueness of each individual leader is perhaps something that we grossly underestimate.

Back to the proverbial rabbit hole. Standing on the precipice of the rabbit hole, realising that your slide is about to begin – take two steps back.

Sit down.


Take the time to reassess yourself as a human being outside of your leadership role.

Take the time to identify the values that you choose to live by, the parameters of how you wish to operate.

Contemplate strategically how you can incorporate who you want to be more completely into who you are creating of yourself as you go forward in your leadership role.

Take the action of finding a mentor who can challenge and provoke this process so that you can not hide behind your own fear of standing out in the crowd of molded leaders.

Actively take yourself to the unattended zone and attend to it for the purpose of enhancing the person that you are as a leader in your life.

Click this link to take a brief survey that will launch your discovery of your own values. Be curious about the reactions that you notice in yourself in response to some of the questions – what does this tell you about yourself? Be curious about the reactions that you notice in yourself in response to your results chart – what does this tell you about yourself? Often the reaction we notice in ourselves enlightens us more than the actual result.

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