How well do I know myself?
This is one of mankind’s oldest and most persistent questions: we spend every minute of every day in our own minds, but how well do we know what lies inside?
And as leaders it is especially important that we are aware of our thoughts, feelings, actions, and responses. In fact, one survey published by the Harvard Business review found that leaders worldwide consider self-awareness more important than any other leadership trait – including strategic thinking and communication skills.
This makes sense, given some of leadership’s foremost responsibilities…
1. Building and maintaining trust and credibility.
Some view control as an important element of leadership – but really, credibility is more crucial to influence. It is possible to manage without a positive relationship with your team, but it is not possible to lead – and if you are not leading them, then you are not a leader.
People trust others who they sense are authentic – and yes, they can definitely tell! When we understand the truth about ourselves and we are honest about it – with ourselves and others – they feel more comfortable opening up about themselves and their own ideas, which fosters an atmosphere of collaboration and keeps morale high.
2. Facilitating decision-making.
As people, we make decisions through a lens of beliefs and biases. When we are unaware of them, they become clouds muddying our judgment.
But when we understand ourselves well enough to know if our priorities are skewed, we can seek out more balanced insight, see things more objectively, and make decisions that take all sides into account.
3. Promoting effective communication.
It is often said that 90% of conflict stems from miscommunication! If that’s true, then understanding our own style of communication better can help us eliminate as much as 45% of the conflict from our relationships – personal and professional.
Not only that, but the more we know about our own communication style, the more we are able to adapt it to the needs of others according to their communication styles. This is a great way to connect with others and better understand their needs.
(Not sure what communication style you have? It’s one step you can take to get to know yourself better. For a short time I’m offering communication assessments to my readers for free – click here for yours.)
4. Creating a healthy and positive work environment.
Not only does self-awareness help keep morale high by promoting openness, but it also improves a leader’s emotional intelligence.
Those who know themselves better are better able to read their own emotions, allowing them to keep a more even keel when leading. Calm and cool leadership, especially in times of turbulence, sets a standard of stability in the workplace.
Needless to say, self-awareness is foundational to effective leadership. However, the Global Leadership Forecast of 2018 reported that only 19% of leaders were effectively self-aware.
In other words, we can agree it’s important… but we’re not doing much about it!
Self-awareness is like a mirror. It allows us to look back at ourselves so that we can move forward from a place of knowing – and as they say, knowledge is power. Self-awareness empowers us to lead more effectively on a foundation of reality.
So, how well do you know yourself, really? And what are you doing to get to know yourself better?
Let me introduce you to the Maxwell Leadership Communication Assessment – a good look into a full-length mirror for your mind! This assessment helps you take a look at yourself in three dimensions: the image you present to others, the image you see of yourself, and how you really are (assuming you answered the questions truthfully 🙂).
As mentioned, I am offering these assessments to my readers at no cost, for a short time. If you’ve completed one already, review your results (on page 4) and take a moment to process them. If you haven’t, click here to take a look in the mirror (for free!).
That’s all for now,
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