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Leader, Know Thyself

April 28, 2021


We’ve talked before in previous posts about how important we believe it is for modern-day leaders to be trained well so that finding creative, purpose-driven solutions to complex problems becomes second nature for them, but it’s not surprising that many people find themselves feeling exasperated by the struggle of trying to arrive at the “right” decision. After all, the international nature of the world today presents us all with challenging situations that have a lot of competing variables.

Most people accept that those in leadership positions have power, and philosophers and great thinkers have long debated how leaders should use that power to influence decision-making and the world at large. However, at the Berlin School, we believe a different mindset is needed — one that focuses not on the power a leader has but instead on the responsibility that leader has to their world. 

Carl Jung once wrote, “We think it is enough to discover new things, but we don’t realize that knowing more demands a corresponding development of morality.” As educators, we believe it is our responsibility to help those who come through our doors — either literally or metaphorically — get the knowledge, experience and support they need to practice truly sustainable leadership. We know that one of the key steps to becoming an ethical, responsible leader involves developing self-knowledge and your internal code of conduct, and it’s for that reason that we put personal development classes and leadership training sessions at the very foundation of every program we offer.

If you’ve ever taken a Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test (like this one, which is similar in some ways to the VIA Survey that many Berliners take at some point during their program) you’ve actually been exposed to the work of Carl Jung. As an analytical psychologist, Jung developed a theory of personality types: extraversion vs. introversion, sensing vs. intuition, thinking vs. feeling, and judging vs. perceiving. His work explored, among other things, the way our unconscious influences can play a role in moral decisions both for individuals and within the context of work organizations.

To Jung, getting to know yourself better wasn’t just an exercise in indulgent narcissism; he saw self-knowledge as the key for those who wanted to have answers to the “evils” of the day. When talking of the challenge that individuals face, Jung said, “[They] must know relentlessly how much good [they] can do and what crimes [they are] capable of, and [they] must beware of regarding the one as real and the other as illusion.”

Even as we advance in our careers and amass a great deal of industry knowledge, we might find that we still have a lot to learn. Whatever stage of life you’re in — whether you’re going straight into higher education from school or coming to it after years of industry experience — we know that you choose a university with the expectation that you’ll learn a lot more than what you could pick up in a blog post or a book. Especially for creative leaders, it’s important to find a place where lifelong learning and a sense of real-world responsibility combine.

At the Berlin School, we offer the support and guidance you need to not only learn the skills but also to get to a point where you can confidently put them into practice — so those responsible leadership actions become instinctive by the time you’re taking your Berlin School lessons to the real world. It’s a “know better, do better” mentality, a hopeful one that seems to be resonating more and more as the world shifts toward conscious capitalism. As we continue to open up our university and widen our Berliner community, we look forward to bringing that sustainable mindset to the world.

Whether you are interested in our time-tested EMBA or our innovative online MSc and BA degrees, find out more about how we use an immersive approach that offers participants the support and guidance they need to not only learn new things but also to confidently put that new knowledge and those sustainable leadership skills into practice.