For leaders, developing self-awareness is crucial. Here are 5 simple steps.
1. Admitting your strengths and weakness
It’s crucial to be 100% honest about what your company excels at and what needs to be improved. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, therefore, no matter how outstanding your main service offering is, this will not reap the rewards you seek if you are failing in another area. This could mean developing your customer service, expanding your reach, or tackling an inherent strategic or structural issue that is impeding performance. Remember, ignoring a problem only amplifies it in the long-term.
2. Understanding your industry
It’s often tempting to see things as we wish to, rather than as they actually are. As business leaders, we must respond to the here and now, not the best case scenario. This is where a clear and honest understanding of the realities of your business environment is crucial. Become aware of the pitfalls that you face in the medium to long-term, taking economic and market trends into consideration. This may sound obvious, but it’s surprising how often companies fool themselves when taking particular courses of action, despite hard evidence to suggest that the action will not work.
3. Learning from mistakes
Making mistakes is a necessary part of succeeding. It’s vital to adopt an optimistic mindset. So, rather than berating yourself for poor judgment when you fail, remind yourself that you now know one way that doesn’t work and quickly move on. Every successful leader and entrepreneur in history made mistakes, but what they also have in common is that they learnt from these mistakes. Developing wisdom and exercising it daily is a fundamental task of any leader.
4. Exercising patience
The old adage, ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’ is particularly relevant for any business, whether it is in its earliest stages or amidst an expansion process. Rewards do not show themselves overnight, therefore being patient is another important part of your self-awareness as a leader. Have confidence in your decisions and give the time necessary to judge whether or not they were right for your company.
5. Being true to your values
Not losing sight of your mission and values – no matter how difficult times get – is extremely important for any business leader. Commanding the respect of your staff, stakeholders and industry peers is a natural evolution of clearly defining and sticking to your goals. Inspirational leaders do not compromise their values or beliefs for any purpose. You must be able to stand over every decision you make and course of action you take, and be congruent with your beliefs in every business activity you engage in. This breeds resilience and resilience breeds success.