Self-Awareness: How Leaders Can Continually Improve Themselves

Whether in a relationship, dealing with customers, or leading a team; self-awareness is essential and key to improving and achieving success. If you are not aware of your weaknesses and blind spots as a leader, then you can risk harming others and even yourself.


Self-awareness means being aware of the internal aspects of one's nature, such as your personality traits, beliefs, emotions, attitudes, and perceptions and appreciating how your patterns affect other people. When managers truly understand themselves, they remain grounded, constant and more capable in achieving better results and growing stronger relationships.


So how do you enhance your ability to become more self-aware? Two effective ways to improve your self-awareness is soliciting feedback and self-assessment. Let us explore both techniques.



1. Soliciting Feedback


Just like using the mirror in the morning to fix our hair or to shave, we can use people as mirrors to see ourselves more clearly. A manager might believe she is patient and a good listener but her employees may see her as being impatient and ignorant. When we go through life without feedback we can be like a balding man who sweeps thin strands of hair across his scalp and thinks no one notices. We all have illusions about ourselves, so we need help from others to get a clear picture of who we are.


To receive this type of feedback effectively, we must be able to create a safe environment that invites and appraises honest feedback. Try to remain calm, collected and positive as you listen carefully to the feedback given. Even if you disagree with the feedback, try to keep an open mind and be reflective. You will soon find yourself seeing things more clearly as you consider all perspectives and opinions.


2. Using Self Assessment


Another way to enhance your self-awareness is self-assessment. This includes using self-inquiry and reflection to gain insights about yourself based on results of scores from self-assessment instruments such as 'The Myer-Briggs Personality Assessment'. (visit www.successbeginswithlistening.com to learn more). By completing these types of assessments as honestly as possible, you can analyze the scores and increase your understanding about various aspects about yourself.


Self-assessment is also about regularly reflecting on our own thoughts, feelings, experiences, examining the effects of our actions and behavior, and understanding the consequences for ourselves and others. Frequently asking yourself "What can I learn?" is a great way to maintain a reflective and positive attitude.

Action Tips

  1. Keep a journal, find a quiet space to meditate, and keep thinking through your day.

  2. Maintain a reflective and positive attitude by frequently asking yourself "What can I learn?"

  3. Keep an open mind and remain calm as you consider and listen to other people's feedback.

Discussion Questions

  1. Why is self-awareness important for being a good leader?

  2. What are some negative consequences that might result from a leader with low self-awareness?

  3. What are useful ways to help improve yours and others ability to become more self-aware?

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