Self Awareness-the ability to monitor one’s own emotions and reactions.
It’s the one leadership trait that can determine your success in leadership and life.
Let me invite you on my experiences on self awareness.
4 years ago I hit a plateau in my leadership role. It seemed that no matter how hard I worked or books read I couldn’t get past a particular goal. I was stressed because my future success and my team’s success was dependent on my ability to lead. So I figured that’s when I should go I hire a business coach. A coach will teach me how to lead others better and then I will get better.
I told my coach. I want you to push me. Tell me what books to read. Tell me what seminars to attend. I will do what it takes. And that’s when she told me this… “If you want to become a better leader it isn’t just about leading others. It is about leading yourself.”
“Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” – CG Jung Swiss psychiatrist and psychotherapist who founded analytical psychology
Leadership is not about reading a book, attending a seminar; it’s about becoming self-aware. You cannot take others where you have not gone yourself.
Over the course of the next 4 years, my coach taught me how to go inside myself and helped me to think.
To be honest, this process of going inside can be tough. There were numerous things I struggled to admit. I learned real fast we all have things that we know that we are pretending not to know. However when you can become more self-aware and conscious you have more control. On the same hand, what you are not aware of you cannot control.
Here are 5 steps I learned for developing self-awareness. I hope they bring you as much value as they have me.
Know your emotional triggers- Many successful CEO’s, including Warren Buffett, record important in decisions and reflect upon them later- Self-aware leaders can identify their feelings, their body language and emotions as they are happening. A good way to identify your emotional triggers is to reflect at the end of your day on your interactions with others and decisions you made. Ask yourself why you reacted the way you did.
Be aware of your strengths and weaknesses- Self aware leaders know their strengths and weaknesses. They don’t have be the know it all/ be all. By being conscious of your strengths and weaknesses this means you know when to reach out for help and guidance.
Seek feedback-Ask your subordinates, peers, managers, and people who work with you to participate in a 360 feedback survey and give anonymous feedback. Or you can do it informally and ask direct questions. When I did this, I learned so much. Yes, it can be uncomfortable. Listen attentively and don’t defend or justify your behavior.
Admit Mistakes-It might sound like the politically correct way to do things. However, it takes courage and strength to admit mistakes.
Be aware of others-Great leaders use the same tools of self-awareness to cultivate an understanding of the people they work with. Through understanding different personality attributes, you can better manage communication styles and the different ways you coach, manage and lead people as they approach projects and deadlines.
By becoming more self aware of myself I was able to lead my team double growth. Not only that , relationships improved and stress was reduced.
If you want to be an effective leader, study and learn about your best leadership tool; yourself. Improve your self-awareness. Reflect upon the impact your interactions have on others. Listen to the feedback others offer on your behavior and style. Ask for candid feedback on your leadership. Take every opportunity to conduct assessments of your personality and style through the use of valid instruments. Working to understand and develop yourself will pay huge dividends when you are put into or are in that leadership role.
In what other ways have you developed self awareness? I would love to read your insights. Feel free to share, comment and like if you found value in this article.
Better Relationships, Better Leadership, Better Results