Self-awareness, few would argue its importance in leadership. It is no surprise then that the US Naval Academy describes self-awareness as a top leadership principle.

I’ve always had the greatest respect and admiration for our US servicemen. The sacrifice and courage displayed by all who served represents leadership at its best.

My father, Peter C MacIsaac pictured below, is a veteran and US Naval Academy graduate.


Upon my MBA graduation, my father gave me a copy of Reef Points. Reef points is the handbook of the Brigade of the of Midshipmen. One section within the Reef Points booklet is on Leadership Principles. This section is right after the section on Leadership Traits. The principles described are shared by all the US military, not just the Navy.

Below is an excerpt from Reef Points on self-awareness and self-improvement. It is the first section under Leadership Principles. It is short, elegant, and powerful. It is a model for all who aspire to develop leadership.

Know yourself and seek self improvement

Use the leadership traits to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses. An accurate and clear understanding of yourself and a comprehension of group behavior will help you determine the best way to deal with any given situation.

Make an honest evaluation of yourself to determine your strong and weak personal qualities.

  • Seek the honest opinion of your friends or superiors
  • Learn by studying the causes for the success and failures of others
  • Develop a genuine interest in people
  • Master the art of effective writing and speech
  • Have a definite plan to achieve your goals


2015, REEF POINTS (110th edition), Annapolis, MD: U.S Naval Institute

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