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Wellness Wednesday will focus on leadership development for the next several weeks. Not surprisingly, psychologist Sherrie Campbell, author of Loving Yourself: The Mastery of Being Your Own Person, believes self-awareness is the key factor in leadership success.

Self-awareness is the ability to monitor our emotions and reactions. Even if we’re not where we want to be as a leader, developing self-awareness and acknowledging areas of leadership weakness is the first step.

Self-awareness Skills

In addition to being aware of our emotions, self-awareness involves knowing how we will react to others. “Self-awareness keeps us grounded, attuned and focused,” Campbell wrote. “When leaders are grounded, they can be efficient and deliberate in staying on task and being attuned to those around them. Leaders who can control their minds and emotions help to guide those around them to develop their own self-knowledge and success.”

Benefits of Self-awareness

Improving our self-awareness may sound like leadership training jargon. However, actively working on understanding our self and our reactions has tangible benefits that can positively impact our leadership effectiveness.

  • Self-awareness sets the tone for our team: When those we lead see us taking the time to understand our strengths, weaknesses, emotions and reactions, they’ll be inspired to follow suit. Better self-awareness from the top down can positively change our team’s culture. Even if we’re not in a formal leadership position, practicing self-awareness will cause others to take notice.
  • Self-awareness improves relationships: Increased self-awareness helps us control our reactions, empathize with others and communicate better—all key elements of team engagement. Self-awareness builds trust and openness, fostering an environment where team members feel safe coming to us with any issue.
  • Self-awareness inspires teamwork: Beyond building relationships, self-awareness skills help us to become a better team player. We’ll know which tasks to delegate and when to ask for feedback or assistance. We’ll also be better positioned to promote collaboration among our team members.
  • Self-awareness makes people want to be involved with us:Because our team members experience more success and effectiveness in our positive culture, they are more likely to stay and be committed to our goals.
  • Self-awareness leads to better decision-making:Leaders are tasked with making countless decisions. High-stakes decisions often result in high emotions. Self-awareness helps us control those emotions so we can make rational decisions. It also builds confidence ― a critical factor in assertively choosing a course of action. Plus, self-aware leaders are conscious of their implicit biases and can take those into account.
  • Self-awareness helps manage conflict:Effective communication and strong relationships reduce interpersonal conflicts. Keeping a cool head and knowing when to compromise help resolve disputes. Self-awareness can help us use conflict for mutual growth and development.
  • Self-awareness makes us more productive:Understanding how we relate and work, especially areas where we need improvement or help, allows us to perform better. Knowing where we excel will grow our confidence, leading us to be more assertive. Delegating tasks to better-suited colleagues will make our team more productive.

Let’s consider what we can do to enjoy the benefits of self-awareness stated above.

  1. Keep an open mind
  2. Be mindful of our strengths and weaknesses
  3. Stay focused
  4. Set boundaries
  5. Know our emotional triggers
  6. Embrace our intuition
  7. Consider how our actions affect others
  8. Apologize when necessary
  9. Ask for feedback

Reflection:

Identify two self-awareness tips that you currently do well.

Identify two self-awareness tips you most want to improve.

Self-awareness takes time, commitment and practice. Continuous open and honest dialog with our self and those we lead is a great way to understand our strengths and correct mistakes.

From our Top 20 team, Willow, Tom, and Kevin, who are committed to continual self-awareness.

Paul Bernabei
Top 20 Training
paul@top20training.com