If you spend any time on our site or others about leadership, you can easily be overwhelmed. There seem to be so many methods to becoming a good leader. But there are some things that are more important to remember than others. We believe that self-awareness is one of those.
To become a leader that people want to follow, it’s essential to grow in self-awareness. This involves having a clear understanding of one’s own strengths, weaknesses, values, and motivations. Each of us has natural tendencies – many of them are negative. Over time, we can create patterns of how we react to these tendencies. Knowing these tendencies and patterns are keys to self-awareness. Also, a leader who is self-aware will be more in tune with their own needs and those of their team, and will be better equipped to make informed and effective decisions.
One key aspect of self-awareness is the willingness to grow and learn. We often refer to this as having a growth mindset. (It’s one of the qualities we look for in our ideal client.) A self-aware leader recognizes that there is always room for improvement and is open to new ideas and perspectives. They are willing to challenge their own assumptions and seek out opportunities for growth and development. They seek feedback from team members, participate in training and development, and are open to learning from others. (If this describes you and you want to learn about one of our coaching programs, start here.)
As one of the founders of GiANT likes to say, “You never graduate from the school of self-awareness.” Make learning about yourself and growing a lifelong pursuit.
Another important aspect of self-awareness is humility. A self-aware leader is able to recognize their own limitations and is not afraid to ask for help or support when needed. They are also willing to listen to other people. They consider the perspectives and ideas of other people as valuable. Humility can go a long way to create a culture of collaboration and respect within the team. Set the example for your team by practicing humility first.
Fighting for their Good
Finally, a self-aware leader is focused on what’s best for their team members. We like to call this “Fighting for their Highest Possible Good.” (In our Leadership Development programs, we actually teach the tool we have for this concept.) Good leaders are able to put their own ego aside, and fight for the good of each team member. This can involve having tough conversations that may not always be popular, but are ultimately in the best interest of the person they are leading. Good leaders are always calibrating their leadership to offer support and challenge, and figuring out what the next development step is for each person they lead.
Ready to grow in your leadership skills? Start growing in self-awareness. It’s essential for becoming a leader that people want to follow. Be open to growth, exhibiting humility, and striving for what’s best for your team. When you do so, you can become a self-aware leader who inspires and motivates others to follow your lead.
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(Want a tool to help you deepen your self-awareness? Check out our video.)