The most effective leaders are aware of how they impact their teams with their actions, reactions, words, and decisions. In other words, the more self-aware we are, the better chance we have of leading effectively. Unfortunately, everyone (including leaders) has blind spots, unconscious biases, and habits that keep us from being as successful as we could be. That’s why improving your self-awareness is one of the most powerful (and often overlooked) ways to become a more effective leader.
If you are ready to take a journey of self-discovery, here are five ways you can begin improving your self-awareness, starting today.
Practice Regular Self-Reflection
I have long been a proponent of reflection as a key to learning. If we don’t reflect on what we did, we are far more likely to repeat mistakes and reduce the speed of our improvement. But reflection specifically with the goal of better self-understanding is critical too. The best questions to use in self-reflection are accountable questions like:
- How did I impact the outcome or results?
- What could I have done differently?
- How could I have had a different level of influence in this situation?
- What patterns do I see in my behavior (both those to keep and those to adjust)?
Take a Self-Assessment
There are many assessments that will give us a better view of ourselves, from outside of ourselves. Our favorite is DISC (Here is a links to our free version and our full range of DISC services). Many of these assessments will give you a look at your strengths, weaknesses and tendencies in ways you will recognize, but that will shed a new light on yourself. Whichever one you choose, we recommend having time with someone who is knowledgeable in their use to help you interpret your results.
Understand Your Triggers
There are things/situations/and environments that can evoke a strong emotional response from you. Typically, these responses are automatic and subconscious. Spend time noticing what those triggers are, because once you are aware of them, you can manage/adjust your reactions in those moments, rather than operating on autopilot. This is a good exercise to consider during your self-reflection.
Perhaps the easiest and best way for your blind spots to be uncovered is with feedback. As a leader you need to get comfortable in asking your team for feedback. Because you are the boss, they may be reticent, but continue to ask. Ask openly and with curiosity, letting them know why you want their input. Once they understand your intentions, they will become more confident and comfortable in sharing with you. Another great way to get feedback anonymously and from a wide variety of people is through the use of 360 assessments.
Have a Coach
A coach can help you get feedback and provide another perspective on your performance and behaviors, but they can also help you process your observations from your self-reflection. If improving your self-awareness is your goal, having a coach is an important way to do that.
I could give you a far longer list of ways you could work on improving your self-awareness, but this is a great start. Pick one of these actions to take today (the first one on the list is free and can be done at any time), and then overtime make it your goal to employ all of these strategies. When you do you will be taking an important step to becoming the Remarkable Leader you were born to be.
Want to create greater results for your organization?
Start with culture. Learn more about how to harness the power of culture with my next webinar – Culture as a Catalyst: Nurturing a High-Performance Culture to Create Organizational Success. Two sessions on June 13th. Learn more and register here.