Featured article April 2018
Self-Awareness and Leadership
Identify your strengths and weaknesses and how they affect others
Have you thought about how you’re perceived as a leader? Self-awareness is probably one of the most valuable leadership competencies that one can develop, although it can often be overlooked. According to a study by Green Peak research, “Companies and their investors should put more into evaluating the interpersonal strengths of potential leaders.” A better understanding of your own strengths and weaknesses can help you gain the trust of others and increase your credibility as a leader. Here are a few things to keep in mind to become more self-aware:
Don’t rely on old strengths
Your strengths have gotten you this far in your career. But if you continue to you use the same ones, this could actually become a weakness. For example, you always step up for an available role in your club meeting. While this is an admirable quality, it doesn’t give others a chance to volunteer. Recognizing your strengths and how you use them is a great first step to self-awareness.
Just as you welcome and solicit feedback in club meetings for your speeches, asking for feedback on your leadership skills is critical to becoming a more effective leader. You can get formal, anonymous feedback in your workplace from a 360 multi-rater assessment that includes your peers, superiors and reports. Informally, make time each day to reflect on events and how people reacted to you.
Ask good questions
Asking good questions models a transparent approach to problem-solving and decision-making. Most important, it models that it’s okay not to know everything — which encourages constant learning. The hard part of asking good questions about your performance is being objective when you hear negative feedback. However, modeling good habits of self-awareness will create an atmosphere of trust and a better organization.
Listen without justifying your actions
Once you’ve heard feedback regarding your leadership performance, don’t defend yourself. You may miss what someone is trying to tell you and people will stop giving you feedback. If you listen with an open mind, you will more likely hear what you need to hear.
Do you think you’re self-aware? Most of us do. But according to research on management styles, you’re likely to be unaware of your behavior and how it impacts others. Luckily, you can improve self-awareness by trying the techniques above.