Self-Awareness: The Key To Effective Leadership
We’ve all experienced a leader who wasn’t self-aware. When a leader is self-aware, they have the ability to focus on themselves and see how their own actions, thought, and emotions do or do not align with their internal standards.
We see this when a leader has set a corporate mantra of integrity, positivity, and appreciation, but his actions do not align. This leader berates his employees, doesn’t see anything good happening, and cooks the books.
Yeah, he’s not self-aware.
Yet, self-awareness is key to effective leadership. Without self-awareness, your employees will think you’re inept and not worth following.
To become an effective leader, you have to develop self-awareness. Thankfully, this is a skill that can be taught and developed.
You’ll have to work hard to change this in your life because self-awareness is a muscle. When a muscle isn’t used, it takes time to work it out and strengthen it.
Here are four things you can do to develop self-awareness.
We’re so busy that we forget to reflect regularly on the things we do and the way we’ve done things. We need to change this.
Begin to reflect regularly on the things you’ve said, the actions you’ve taken, and how you’ve treated others.
Think about how your actions and deeds made others feel. Did what you do align with how you wanted people to feel? Did you take home company items without permission? Do you regularly think negatively about those you work with?
When you look back at what you’ve done and what you’ve thought, you begin to get a clearer picture of who you are.
The good news is, if you’re off course with any of this, you can begin to course correct because of your time of reflection. Use your reflection time to find out where you’re not living up to your standards. Then correct it.
Seek feedback from others:
One of the hardest things you’ll have to do to become more self-aware is to seek feedback from others. While you’ll receive positive feedback, you’ll also receive critical responses.
Don’t let these critical responses hurt you. Instead, see them for what they are.
The critical feedback you receive isn’t to hurt you. Your trusted advisors are giving you this feedback to help you improve and become more self-aware.
Accept that what they’re saying is true. Then, work on yourself. Your blindspots have been revealed. You can grow from this challenging feedback.
Engage in personal development activities:
Many people are blind to how their actions impact those around them until they engage in personal development activities. These activities highlight what successful leaders do, how to become a better person, and ways to increase your knowledge.
As you read what successful leaders have done, you can apply their strategies to your leadership style. You will find yourself adopting the mindfulness activities of others.
Before you know it, you’ll be aware of your actions, thoughts, and motives.
In the Christian world, self-care can be seen as something evil. You’re supposed to care for God and others… but not yourself.
That’s a lie.
We cannot continue to lead well if we don’t care for ourselves. We can’t be self-aware, either.
Take time to take care of yourself. Some activities to consider are:
- Running: This gives you time to reflect upon your day
- Eating a balanced diet: This gives you the energy and strength to get through your day. A balanced diet can also give you more mental focus.
- Getting enough sleep: Too many leaders don’t get enough sleep. They wake up groggy, tired, and cranky. Clear your mind and become self-aware by getting more sleep.
- Find ways to relieve stress: Stress clouds your mind. Find ways to reduce stress in your life.
Self-awareness isn’t a one-trick pony. You have to be consistent and determined to do the hard work it takes to improve your ability to see yourself as you are.
Work on the actions above. When you reflect, you will see how you actually align with who you think you are. When you engage in personal development activities, you grow your mindset and gain ideas on what to do when you’re out of alignment with who you want to be. When you seek feedback from others, you understand how others see you. And, when you take care of yourself, you find yourself energized to work on yourself.
Becoming self-aware takes hard work. You can do it. You can change your life and the life of those you lead.