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Use of Self

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Navigating the Self-Landscape

Journey through the intricate domain of 'Use of Self', a concept profoundly articulated by David Jamieson. Rooted in the confluence of self-awareness, organizational development, and human psychology, 'Use of Self' emphasizes the importance of individual introspection in affecting broader organizational change. As we navigate a rapidly changing world, marked by technological evolution and shifting societal norms, understanding oneself becomes crucial to driving effective leadership and change. This methodology accentuates the connection between personal authenticity and impactful influence. Let's delve into its foundational principles, implications, and transformative potential.


The 'Use of Self' approach brings forth numerous organizational and individual benefits:

  • Enhanced Self-awareness: Recognizing personal strengths, weaknesses, and triggers.

  • Authentic Leadership: Leading with genuineness, ensuring more effective influence.

  • Improved Interpersonal Relationships: Understanding oneself leads to better understanding of others.

  • Proactive Response to Change: Being in tune with oneself allows for agile adaptability.

  • Deepened Organizational Introspection: Encouraging others to also delve into self-awareness.

When to use

'Use of Self' is versatile, but shines particularly bright in certain contexts:

  • Leadership Development: As leaders grapple with diverse teams and shifting goals.

  • Change Management: Navigating organizational transitions requires authentic leadership.

  • Team Building: Understanding oneself can pave the way for improved team dynamics.

  • Conflict Resolution: Self-awareness can lead to more empathetic and effective conflict resolution.

  • Personal Development Programs: Encouraging employees to become the best versions of themselves.

Adapt and integrate 'Use of Self' as per the unique needs of your organization.

OD Application

The Power and Potential of "Use of Self" in Organizational Development

In the realm of Organizational Development (OD), "Use of Self" emerges as a profound and transformative concept. It embodies the idea that consultants, leaders, and change agents can be the most vital instruments of change by consciously using their own values, beliefs, behaviors, and presence to impact others and the system they operate in. In a way, it’s about being both the sculptor and the clay, shaping and being shaped by the dynamics of an organization.

Delving Deeper into "Use of Self"

At its core, "Use of Self" is predicated on the understanding that every interaction a consultant or leader has within an organization carries the potential to effect change. It’s about harnessing personal awareness, authenticity, and presence as tools to influence, guide, and inspire others.

Impacts on Well-being

Individual Level

1. Self-awareness and Growth:Engaging with "Use of Self" necessitates deep introspection. Individuals gain clarity about their values, beliefs, strengths, and areas of growth. This heightened self-awareness can lead to personal and professional development.

2. Authentic Interactions:As individuals become more attuned to their authentic selves, their interactions become more genuine. This authenticity can foster trust and deeper connections with colleagues and clients.

3. Emotional Resilience:By recognizing and regulating one's emotions, individuals can navigate challenging situations with greater equanimity and resilience.

Team Level

1. Trust and Cohesion:When team members witness authentic behavior, it can foster a climate of trust. Teams become more cohesive, understanding, and supportive.

2. Enhanced Communication:With heightened self-awareness, team members can communicate more effectively, understanding both their own communication style and being attuned to the styles of others.

3. Collaborative Problem Solving:Teams that operate with members who practice "Use of Self" tend to approach problem-solving collaboratively, drawing on the strengths and perspectives of each member.

Impacts on Organizational Prosperity

1. Leadership Authenticity:Leaders who practice "Use of Self" tend to be perceived as more authentic and trustworthy. This perception can enhance their influence and effectiveness.

2. Effective Change Management:In the turbulent waters of organizational change, a leader or consultant's authentic presence can serve as a steadying anchor, guiding the organization with clarity and purpose.

3. Organizational Alignment:As leaders and consultants become more attuned to their values and purpose, they can better align organizational strategies and goals with these core principles, ensuring a coherent and purpose-driven approach to business.

Guidelines for Harnessing "Use of Self" in OD

1. Commit to Continuous Self-reflection:Regularly engage in introspection. Understand your values, biases, triggers, and emotional responses.

2. Seek Feedback:Actively seek feedback from peers, mentors, and team members. This external perspective can provide invaluable insights into how you're perceived and how you can enhance your "Use of Self."

3. Engage in Lifelong Learning:Attend workshops, read books, and engage in discussions that expand your understanding of yourself and the dynamics of human behavior.

Determining the Need for "Use of Self"

1. Organizational Trust Issues:If an organization is grappling with trust issues, the authentic presence of a leader or consultant can be instrumental in rebuilding this trust.

2. Resistance to Change:In situations where there's resistance to change, an authentic and empathetic approach can help in understanding the root causes of this resistance and addressing them.

3. Misalignment of Values:If there's a perceived misalignment between organizational actions and stated values, "Use of Self" can help leaders realign these by acting as role models.

Observing the Impact

Individual Level:Look for increased self-confidence, improved interpersonal relationships, and heightened emotional intelligence.

Team Level:Monitor enhanced team cohesion, improved communication, and collaborative problem-solving.

Organizational Level:Track improvements in organizational trust, alignment with core values, and successful change management initiatives.

In essence, "Use of Self" is about recognizing and harnessing the transformative power that each individual holds within. It’s about realizing that every interaction, decision, and behavior can ripple out, creating waves of change. In the realm of Organizational Development, where change is the only constant, the conscious and purposeful use of self emerges as a beacon, guiding both individuals and organizations towards a brighter, more aligned future.


Healthcare: A Healer's Introspection

Challenge: A senior healthcare administrator struggled to lead her team effectively, resulting in decreased patient satisfaction.

Solution: Through the 'Use of Self' approach, she recognized her communication gaps and worked on them.

Outcome: Improved patient care, a more cohesive team, and a leader in touch with her strengths and weaknesses.

Technology: Coding Authenticity

Challenge: A tech startup CEO found it challenging to retain talent and maintain team morale.

Solution: He embraced the 'Use of Self' methodology, leading with authenticity and encouraging his team to do the same.

Outcome: Improved team retention, enhanced creativity, and a harmonious work environment.

Non-Profit: Mission with Self-awareness

Challenge: The head of a global non-profit struggled to align diverse teams with the organization's core mission.

Solution: 'Use of Self' helped her understand her leadership style, adapting it to cater to diverse teams.

Outcome: Effective mission alignment, impactful projects, and a unified organizational direction.

Facilitator Notes

How to Introduce 'Use of Self'

Introducing 'Use of Self' requires sensitivity and openness. Begin by sharing its origins and the profound impact of self-awareness on leadership. Emphasize its benefits, and encourage an environment of introspection and learning.

Sample Introduction Script

"Today, we delve into a powerful concept known as 'Use of Self'. Pioneered by David Jamieson, it's about understanding ourselves to become more effective leaders and influencers. By recognizing our strengths, weaknesses, and patterns, we can lead with authenticity and make a profound impact. Let's embark on this enlightening journey together."

Helpful Facilitator Questions

  1. How do you perceive your leadership style?

  2. Can you identify moments when personal biases influenced your decisions?

  3. How do you handle feedback about yourself?

  4. How does self-awareness influence your interactions with colleagues?

  5. What triggers strong emotional reactions in you at work?

  6. How can you use self-awareness to navigate organizational changes?

  7. How does the 'Use of Self' concept resonate with your personal experiences?

  8. How comfortable are you in sharing personal vulnerabilities with your team?

  9. How can 'Use of Self' improve team dynamics?

  10. What strategies can you adopt to enhance self-awareness?

Anticipating and Overcoming Resistance

Self-discovery: Navigating Personal Barriers


  • Vulnerability Concerns: Delving into oneself can make individuals feel exposed.

  • Defensiveness: Some may perceive introspection as a critique.


  • Foster a Safe Environment: Ensure confidentiality and a non-judgmental space.

  • Highlight Benefits: Emphasize the transformative impact of self-awareness on leadership and personal growth.

Recognizing Successful Facilitation

Markers of Introspective Mastery

  • Open Dialogue: Participants actively share personal insights and reflections.

  • Personal Action Plans: Individuals develop strategies for enhancing self-awareness and leadership.

  • Feedback Receptivity: An increased openness to receive and act on feedback.

Deep Dive

Related Theories

Emotional Intelligence (Daniel Goleman)

Field: Psychology

Understanding one's emotions and how they impact interpersonal relations is crucial in 'Use of Self'.

Transformational Leadership (James MacGregor Burns)

Field: Leadership Theory

Leaders who understand themselves can better inspire and lead their teams.

Self-determination Theory (Deci & Ryan)

Field: Psychology

Highlighting the importance of autonomy and self-regulation in motivation and performance.


  1. How does 'Use of Self' differ from other leadership methodologies?

  2. How can self-awareness transform team dynamics?

  3. How does vulnerability play into the 'Use of Self' methodology?

  4. How can organizations foster a culture of introspection?

  5. What's the interplay between self-awareness and organizational success?


Delving Deeper

  1. Impact of 'Use of Self' on Organizational Performance: A quantitative analysis.

  2. 'Use of Self' in Diverse Cultures: Adapting the methodology for global organizations.

  3. Role of Leadership in 'Use of Self': Analyzing the impact on leadership outcomes.

  4. Long-term Benefits of 'Use of Self': A longitudinal study on sustained impacts.

  5. 'Use of Self' in Conflict Resolution: Analyzing its role in mediating organizational conflicts.


  1. "Use of Self in OD Consulting: An Evidence-Based Framework" by David Jamieson: A comprehensive guide on the methodology.

  2. "Self as Instrument: A Cornerstone for the Future of OD" by Mee-Yan Cheung-Judge & David W. Jamieson: Delving deep into the intertwining of self and organizational development.

  3. "Leading from the Emerging Future: From Ego-System to Eco-System Economies" by Otto Scharmer & Katrin Kaufer: Explore leadership from a perspective of self-awareness and societal transformation.


The 'Use of Self' methodology offers a transformative lens through which leaders and organizations can navigate complex challenges. By deeply understanding oneself, leaders can profoundly influence their teams and the broader organizational landscape. Dive into the realm of introspection and lead with authenticity and impact.

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