Self-Awareness: “What is Your Own Truth as a Citizen and as a Leader, Today?”

Chapter 1 of The Citizen Leader asks,  “What is your own truth as a citizen and as a leader, today?

You will find a series of queries to help you mine the answer. I ask: What do you think your strengths are as a citizen? As a leader? What are the areas that you need to work on? Why? These are the questions that will help you get started and build your self-awareness. Your responses will serve as a good base camp from which to launch the exploration of your self and your character.

The questions in these chapters are powerful tools that ask of you deep introspection and reflection. They require your curiosity and humility. And they call on you to be brutally honest with yourself and about yourself. No judgment is attached to your answers. What is important is that you be rigorous, seek honesty and own your truth about who you are at this point in time, as well as who you strive to be.

Your willingness to engage courageously in this journey of questions will help you know the substance and feel the strength of your convictions, your credibility and your courage to lead. Your responses will provide insight into the authentic content of your character and bolster your enthusiasm to engage in your community as an active citizen. And they will serve as the foundation for your capacity to rally and guide others to serve and act, make meaningful contributions and help you all create great places to live, work and play.

Your truth will reveal whether you are leading a life of personal integrity – whether you are a person you or anyone else would want to follow.

Chapter 1: Self-Awareness

I begin The Citizen Leader with an appeal to your curiosity and candor as I ask you to take stock of the qualities you possess as a citizen and as a leader. I also ask you to be forthright about the qualities you hope to strengthen as you set out on this exploration of character and active citizenship. Chapter 1 is an exercise in self-awareness. It is your point of departure and sets the tone for the caliber of reflection, inquiry and honesty that will serve you well and enrich your experience as you journey through the rest of the book. 

It is my core belief that we are all co-creators of the world in which we live. Our families, schools, places of work, places of worship, neighborhoods and towns — all these are the communities that make up our world. Through our daily behaviors, words, actions and choices, we contribute to the character of these communities, and we shape the world in which we live and work, for ourselves, our families, our friends, our colleagues, our coworkers and our fellow citizens. The prerequisite, as you take on any role of leadership in any one of these communities, is your having a strong sense of who you are, first. The foundation for your building strong bonds with and leading others begins with your building a strong bond with and leading yourself. That is the essence of this book and its focus. The Citizen Leader is devoted to diving down to the deep truths about yourself that respond to this challenge:

Who are you, that you or anyone else would want to follow?

The Citizen Leader: Citizenship and Leadership Lessons Made Meaningful and Designed for Practical Application

I have written The Citizen Leader to be usable by and accessible to everyone. Since most people won’t have an opportunity to participate in an organized, company-sponsored or costly seminar on leadership, I have designed this guide to be your de facto workshop. It provides rigorous, thorough, thoughtful (and thought-provoking) leadership guidance and training, with the goal of helping you to grow personally and professionally. For your part, in order to gain the most from the investment of your time and energy as you read through The Citizen Leader and work through the exercises, you will need to be both reflective and actively engaged.

The Citizen Leader is not leadership made quick or easy, nor is this leadership dumbed down. There are no such things. Rather, this is leadership learning and lessons drawn from the experience of real people, designed for practical application, and intended to benefit anyone with a commitment to being more of a leader — regardless of their title or position, and regardless of the size of their staff, supporters or followers. I draw on two decades of consulting, coaching, teaching graduate students and facilitating leadership seminars in business, government, the military, academia and the not-for-profit world. My audiences have included men, women and young adults, with identities and titles ranging from corporate CEO to entrepreneur to local shop owner, from sales executive to sales associate, from scientist to service industry and social worker, educator to engineer, banker to beautician, construction worker to caregiver, admiral to ensign, lawyer to legislator, Ph.D. to M.B.A. to middle school student, and many more. This guide draws on the wealth and wisdom of their experience, exploration, example, struggle, success, breakdown, breakthrough and sheer determination.

Excerpted from The Citizen Leader

The Citizen Leader: Be the Person You’d Want to Follow

Over the course of this next week and next, I will be posting short commentaries on the essential elements of The Citizen Leader: Self-Awareness, Conviction, Character (Credibility and Personal Integrity), Courage, Contribution, Community, The Common Good and Gratitude.

The Citizen Leader: Be the Person You’d Want to Follow is a guide to help men, women, young adults and teens explore and respond to the questions: Who am I? and How do I want to be in the world? The book challenges people at all stages of personal and professional life to deepen their commitment to being authentic and courageous so they can say with conviction: I am a person I’d want to follow.

The book is structured for the readers to venture through on their own and at their own pace. It is also designed to let the readers partner with others — peers, coworkers, family, or friends, in school, at work, at home, in a seminar, in a book club — so together they can use its guidance, exercises and tools to create a forum for reflection, sharing, sharpening, learning and growth.

It is my hope that the insights my readers derive from The Citizen Leader will both enrich their lives and help them lead others in efforts to create great places for us all to live, work and play.

I have written The Citizen Leader in the hopes of making leadership education understandable, meaningful and actionable for adults, young adults and teens alike. I draw on the twenty years of teaching leadership seminars, instructing graduate students and coaching executives.

The first half of The Citizen Leader dives deeply into character, to help readers discern and define who they are today, and who they aspire to be tomorrow and well into the future. The second half provides a tutorial on citizenship in which I frame questions and suggest a process of inquiry to prompt and coach readers to ask themselves: What are the causes that I care about in my community? What initiatives could I champion that would contribute to my community? How can I harness the courage to follow through with the actions that will move the initiative forward? I call this line of inquiry and application active citizenship. It is my belief and experience that a candid assessment of character, a conscious commitment to be the person you’d want to follow and a courageous resolve to be an active citizen are preparation for, and the prerequisites of, engaging leadership – that is, leadership that would inspire other members of a community to want to follow your lead.

In my wildest dreams, the inquiry in my book will become standard fare in high schools and colleges — not the academic curriculum, I recognize, but in orientations, life skills, leadership programs and the like. Beyond that, I also trust that my book will make a meaningful contribution to the personal development electives at professional schools and in corporate leadership programs.

Praise and Reviews: Barry Mills

Peter Alduino’s The Citizen Leader: Be the Person You’d Want to Follow is not a typical treatise on the characteristics of great leaders. It is very much a workbook, and Alduino expects his readers to work. His emphasis is squarely on self-awareness, and he guides readers on a journey of intense self-examination to determine the principles they want to live by, to scrutinize whether their pattern of action supports those principles, and to use that knowledge to become an active citizen and leader. This is not a guide to becoming a leader simply to be successful; it is a guide to becoming a leader with integrity, passion, and authenticity.

—Barry Mills, President, Bowdoin College

Praise and Reviews: Chip Conley

Rarely has a book come along that is so easy to endorse. The Citizen Leader would be wonderful reading for every college and high school student in America and why not their parents as well. This thoughtful reflection and action-oriented guide on authenticity, character, and responsibility will stand up to the test of time because it speaks to timeless and fundamental human needs that dwell deep inside each one of us.

—Chip Conley, Founder, Joie de Vivre Hospitality and Author, PEAK and Emotional Equations

Praise and Reviews: Jim Kouzes

As Peter Alduino makes clear in The Citizen Leader, leadership is not about position or title, power or authority, celebrity or wealth. And it’s most definitely not about being a hero. What Peter says is that leadership is your responsibility as a member of this global community, and that you have the capacity to do it. When you read The Citizen Leader, Peter asks you to confront yourself, take stock of who you are, and what you stand for. And he asks you to decide the difference you want to make in this world. This book is full of tips and techniques and practical examples, and all the things you need to become a better citizen leader, but it is not a book you just read, it’s a book you have to experience. It’s a book you have to actively participate in. When you do, it will affirm the most fundamental of all assumptions that you must make to become an exemplary leader — the assumption that you make a difference. The Citizen Leader will help you do just that.

—Jim Kouzes, Co-Author of the bestselling books The Leadership Challenge and Credibility

The Citizen Leader is now in print

After two years of writing, and drawing on twenty years of consulting, coaching, teaching and training in the fields of leadership, management development and personal growth, I am delighted to announce the launch of my first book, The Citizen Leader: Be the Person You’d Want to Follow.

The Citizen Leader is a thought-provoking guide to help men, women, young adults and teens explore and respond to the questions: Who am I? and How do I want to be in the world? The book challenges people at all stages of personal and professional life to deepen their commitment to being authentic and courageous so they can say with conviction: I am a person I’d want to follow.

The Citizen Leader is designed to allow the reader to venture through on their own or in partnership with peers, co-workers, family or friends. Ideal for use in schools, at work, at home, in a seminar, or a book club — together the readers can use The Citizen Leader’s guidance, exercises and tools to create a forum for reflection, sharing, learning and growth.

It is my hope that the insights you derive from The Citizen Leader will both enrich your life and help you lead others in efforts to create great places for us all to live, work and play.

The print edition is available online at Barnes&Noble and Amazon and on the websites of many local and independent bookstores.

Ebook editions will be available in December.

Words to Inspire: Oseola McCarty

If you want to feel proud of yourself, you’ve got to do things you can be proud of.

It’s heartwarming to know that good, selfless people still exist in our society. One such person was Oseola McCarty, who died at the age of 91. Her obituary in the New York Times stated that, in anticipation of her death, at age 87 in 1995, Miss McCarty donated $150,000 to a scholarship fund at the University of Southern Mississippi to help poor students. The truly amazing thing, however, was that she was far from a wealthy woman. In fact, she washed clothes for a living, and the $150,000 represented her entire life savings. The selflessness of her gift garnered her worldwide and national attention, and she received numerous awards, shook hands with President Bill Clinton, and was honored by the United Nations. Upon hearing of her donation, contributions began pouring into the scholarship find, eventually adding some $330,000 to the original gift of $150,000… Miss McCarty had this to say about her actions: “There’s a lot of talk about self-esteem these days. It seems pretty basic to me. If you want to feel proud of yourself, you’ve got to do things you can be proud of. Feelings follow actions.”

Source: Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette’s Portfolio Manager’s Weekly, 7/26/2000