Such a statement may invoke strong feelings, reminiscences of the 1980’s perhaps, usually implying selfishness and lack of concern or interest in others. The paradox of a focus on oneself is an increased appreciation of others, as you realise the important part that values and beliefs play in giving us our perceptual filters. As we uncover our own defaults, strategies and drivers we develop our awareness of the existence of such patterns and their power to help and hinder. Hopefully our discoveries encourage us to look for those patterns in others so that we may better understand them and increase our effectiveness in communicating.
When it comes to Leadership, knowing more about yourself enables you to be anything but selfish. By understanding yourself better you learn to appreciate others more. Reams of research and for ourselves, feedback from coachees and delegates on our Leadership Masterclassess and Development programmes, confirms that learning more about yourself is pivotal in individuals becoming better leaders. In fact, I would say that the best thing you can do to improve your effectiveness as a leader is to become more self-aware. Having a clearer understanding of what motivates you, how your decision-making process works and what is driving your behaviours is an essential part of the leader’s toolkit,
Of course, as human beings we are complex creatures and it’s likely that however well we think we know ourselves today, we will be constantly surprised as who we are does not remain static. We are a continuously evolving system with varying degrees of consistency. Hopefully developing a set of behaviours that is infinitely flexible, but with more stability in our perception of our core values, beliefs and sense of self.
There are many aspects of ‘who you are’ worthy of consideration with respect to the impact on your leadership style and prowess, as well as your personal contentment and satisfaction. Many are obvious if only you choose to take the time to consider them. Of course, sometimes we get so caught up in things and we are so busy we can lose sight of this important area of development.
At its most basic it’s about understanding where you are strong and not so strong, where you are confident and where you are more vulnerable. To do this requires openness, honesty, disclosure and an element of risk taking. In demonstrating that you don’t have all the answers and are far from the finished article you will hopefully find those who are willing to devote time and energy to your cause and give you that invaluable external perspective. To gain insight into how others are experiencing your behaviours can be incredibly useful. To get the most from this rich seam of feedback one has to be proactive, something not always witnessed from Leaders concerned with their image and status. One clarion call would be to seek more feedback.
So, as you’ve taken a little time to read this, here’s 4 simple steps to for you to put into practice to continue to develop this all-important skill of self awareness.
- Develop your understanding of what’s important to you – your values, passion and desires,
- Identify your empowering and limiting beliefs – recognising them for what they are . . . merely things that are true for you at this point in time
- Acknowledge that your values and beliefs are strong filters. Continually look for things you may be missing and explore alternative perspectives to get a fuller, richer experience.
- Recognise your patterns, habits and default behaviours (self exploration and feedback from others helps to highlight blind-spots)
Above all take responsibility for You. Take a moment now to reflect on your day. Pop on a hat for a moment that says ‘its all about me’. Ask yourself: What did I do that resulted in me getting the results I got today? What did I do that meant I didn’t get the outcomes I wanted? What could I have do differently next time to achieve a different result?
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- Awakening the Leader Within Coaching – call Rita 07946 443930 or Kevin 07796 954369
- If you work in the Charity sector and are considering your Leadership development, you may want to consider the ACEVO Emerging Leaders Programme. We start the next one in October. https://www.acevo.org.uk/event/emerging-leaders-programme-2017-0