“The Power to See Ourselves” by Brouwer (1964) is an article the author had extracted from a longer work to be published in Managers for Tomorrow. It is based on a fundamental concept that development as a manager means implementing a change in the concept of self – the image that each of us possesses and the one that we would use to describe ourselves.
The article explores that image, its relation to behavioral changes in a developing manager, and how consequent changes in one’s concept of self image occur. Brouwer stresses that all that we say, do, hear, feel or in whatever way perceive, is affected by that self-concept, which he describes as like a photographer’s filter that excludes what we don’t want to receive and allows through what we do. A phenomenon he describes as “selective listening.”
Brouwer notes that human behavior constantly changes, and that such changes are crucial in understanding development of a manager, who must grow his/her own self concept to properly develop; Brouwer cites examples of those who fail because they cannot appraise themselves in a realistic way, or who resist change instinctively, especially as they become older. He considers the first step to change is self-examination, followed by a change in self-expectation, which can come from various sources that will provide a better insight into oneself. Following that change, Brouwer says developing managers need to possess a quality he calls self-direction: the inherent and continuing quest for further development for oneself; to achieve personal objectives.
Having read and summarized the article, I believe that Brouwer’s ideas make a lot of sense. People who wish to climb to the top in an organization must develop and adapt to the roles of increased responsibility if they are to succeed. However, the ideas and concepts he describes are only part of the story. Not everyone is capable of ever achieving those goals, either because of lack of aptitude, ambition, intelligence, motivation, or even opportunity. Nonetheless, Brower’s article provides some thought-provoking points and some insights into self-image.
Brouwer, Paul, J. The Power to See Ourselves. (1964). Harvard Business News. Retrieved from http://capsnet.usc.edu/professionalDevelopment/TLA/documents/Brouwer_