Warren Bennis (1985), an expert in contemporary leadership studies, stresses the need for self-knowledge as a prerequisite for leadership effectiveness. He wrote:
I am dismayed by the number of men and women I interview who have retired from leadership positions decrying their failure to take time for personal reflection while they were active in their posts. They have assumed positions in organizations that they did not found, and rather than initially considering the impact they might make on the organization and proceeding from a foundation of values, they have defined themselves as they went along. First, they accepted the old tenets of the organization, and then only gradually discovered what was important to them personally. This trial and error method of leadership results in an inconsistent message and a lack of commitment by those engaged in the enterprise. Leaders who make the transition from an old set of dominant values to a set that reflects their own beliefs make a substantial mark on the organization.
Bennis, W. (1985). Leaders: The strategies for taking charge. New York: Harper & Row.