Last month, I shared the necessary traits to become an authentic leader. Key among them is the concept of self-awareness. The idea of self-awareness has been around since the days of Socrates and Plato. And, the phrase, “know thyself,” has withstood the test time. However, it wasn’t until the early 21st century that self-awareness, and its relationship to authentic leadership, became a popular leadership concept.
Having self-awareness means you have a strong sense of yourself, including knowing your strengths and weaknesses, your thoughts and beliefs, your emotions, and your motives. As a leader, one of the most valuable ways to improve your effectiveness is to become more self-aware.
However, according to research by organizational psychologist and author, Dr. Tasha Eurich, while 95% of people think they’re self-aware, the real number is closer to only 10% to 15%.
So how self-aware are you?
If you are in the 10-15% category, you may benefit from the following tips to become a more self-aware leader:
Look Within: Self-awareness is typically made up of two types of knowledge. The first is introspective knowledge, or how you see yourself. In order to develop a strong sense of self, start by asking yourself some basic questions:
- What makes you unique?
- How do you react in social situations, and why?
- How do your emotions affect your relationships and decision-making process?
- What motivates you to continuously improve and develop?
Then decide which traits you want to continue and which need improvement.
Look Outside: Equally important to seeing how you see yourself is seeing how others see you. To increase your self-awareness, it’s important to seek feedback on your performance from others and, most important, listen without justifying or defending your actions. Seeing yourself through an objective lens will help you better understand where your strengths and weaknesses lie. And knowing your assets and shortcomings will help earn the trust of others and improve your credibility – both of which will increase your strength as a leader.
According to Eurich, people who possess both types of self-knowledge are the ones who are the most successful at work and in life.
Becoming more self-aware takes work and may often be uncomfortable. However, once mastered, it will arm you with the knowledge to make better choices — to change, grow and be an effective leader.
Tasha Eurich. 2017. Insight. Crown Publishing Group.
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