A journey of reflection on self-awareness and leadership by lac Léman.

lac Léman”, meaning Lake Geneva, is the first French word I learned after coming to Switzerland. I love the name “lac Léman” because it seems that I have already visualized its beauty by the name. But the gorgeous lake is even beyond my imagination, and I feel Mary Shelley’s description of the lake, “blue as the heavens which it reflects”, is not an exaggeration.

Thanks to IMD’s great location, walking around lac Léman becomes one of my most enjoyable leisure activities. I was amazed to find out that the view always looks different from yesterday, not to mention in different time and seasons. Just one simple snapshot can never interpret its magnificence.

Inspired by lac Léman, I began to truly appreciate the importance of continuous reflection. Lac Léman looks differently with gradation of light and shade, just like we may have different leadership styles and present different images in various environment and group dynamics. Hence continuous reflection from different angles will help us explore and discover who we really are and what kind of person we want to be.

In the leadership stream of our MBA courses, we had opportunities working with professional coaches to reflect on our behaviors in group exercises, express feelings for group dynamics, and receive feedbacks from peers and colleagues. Meanwhile, each MBA participant is offered 20 Personal Development Elective (PDE) sessions with a psychoanalyst to further develop our self-awareness.

I enjoy every session talking with my PDE analyst who is both professional and lovely. Her simple and apt metaphors inspire me to think from a different perspective and gain a better understanding of my unconscious emotions and behavior patterns. I notice myself gradually forming a habit of asking myself why I behave and feel in someway and what can be my unconscious assumptions and expectations. I have also been working on proactively predicting my emotions so as to consciously control them in a rational way. I believe establishing self-awareness is the foundation of maximizing our leadership potential, and it requires unremitting learning and reflection. It reminds me of Confucius’ perspective on the interrelationship of learning and reflection: “学而不思则罔,思而不学则殆。 (Translation: Learning without thinking leads to confusion; thinking without learning ends with lassitude.)”

Summer is coming, let’s take some time to reflect by lac Léman, where we may find “room and food for meditation” according to Lord Byron.

Lingman Peng

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