Good self-awareness is tantamount to good leadership. In fact, many academics, and prominent businesspeople themselves quote it as the single most important trait of outstanding leaders. Why? Because self-awareness empowers us to better understand ourselves, from our motivations to our triggers, and our underlying biases. And once we master better self-awareness, we begin to make better decisions.
Defined as an awareness of one’s own personality or individuality, we could be forgiven for assuming that we all possess this trait. However, true self-awareness takes effort and consistent investment. The author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0, Dr. Travis Bradberry describes it as one of the core components of emotional intelligence – that is, the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and identify and influence others through situational awareness. The role self-awareness plays in leadership is becoming clear.
Self-awareness leaders are always developing themselves and show vulnerability at times. Making it an organizational value inspires employees to be honest about their shortcomings and try to develop themselves. More circulating feedback and discussions lead to better communication and transparency, and stronger working relationships within the organization. The result is high engagement, a more motivated and ambitious workforce, better business decisions, and better performance and bottom line.
Firstly, we must take time to identify the external factors and triggers that affect people’s behavior towards us. So, ask yourself why you do or say the things you do… And, importantly, how you respond to people’s responses to you. Consider that impact culture and belief system have on our perceptions of others. Then, get some feedback from those around you, not only will this help you empathize more with them, but it will also help you to honestly assess your behavior. Also, look for patterns in your behavior and examine these through the lens of your values and motivations. Ultimately, this will help you to determine who exactly you are, the individual offering you can make, and how to achieve the best possible outcome. Do these exercises consistently and you will feel your self-awareness growing.
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