The self-aware leader
"I think self-awareness is probably the most important thing towards being a champion" – Billy Jean King.
Being self-aware, understanding yourself and knowing how your behaviour impacts the team and ultimately the business and customer experience is the mark of a great leader. Emotional intelligence, which has become a popular phrase of late – is according to the dictionary; the ‘capacity to be aware of, control, and express one's emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically'. The caveat to this is knowing how to utilize this awareness to manage your emotions, behaviours and relationships for the good of the business.
How are your values and vision working out for you? Is it time to take a long hard look at how effective they are and what impact they are having on the team? A useful exercise would be to ask yourself how would your team, colleagues and customers rate your leadership style? What would they say and how would you feel about the results? Would you be confident in scoring highly or apprehensive, even anxious about the result? This could be the first step to recognising how others perceive you. It could be hard to digest, or even humbling, but will unlock your potential to grow as a person and as a more effective leader. Being aware of what areas might need some work or what areas you're totally fabulous in can only be a good thing right?
Being self-aware can be extremely empowering, helping to unlock true potential in your leadership capabilities. This knowledge of one's own self helps you to make better choices, to evolve, to grow, to flourish. Understanding why you do the things you do, why you behave in a certain way and noticing how others respond to you. The ability to recognise your emotions and your character traits and the impact they have on others will make you more effective in managing your relationships. Being self-aware leads to self-regulation where you learn to control your impulses or redirect them for the greater good. Understanding the impact on others that your behaviour has will open up a more empathetic path of leadership.
Having low self-awareness puts limitations on your potential, on your ability to pre-empt or react to situations which will, in turn, limit your effectiveness and productivity. Being self-aware can help you to consider the circumstances of your actions, creating a broader and more rounded approach to your decision-making. It can help you to recognise when it's best to use your traits or skills for the good of the team, when to adapt them appropriately or when it's best to leave well enough alone.
Leading by example, demonstrating resilience and composure are all embedded in being self-aware and are what makes a great leader. Your team will have more confidence in you, more confidence in the tasks ahead and will show more resilience themselves. It will bond the team on its common purpose, its shared journey and should unlock potential in team members too. Recognising what drives you, what makes you tick and what you need to achieve that will foster that approach within the team also.
Ultimately, be the best version of you and continue to build on it. It will flag up what has a negative impact on you but will give you the courage and emotional intelligence to deal with the negativity. But don't stop there. You should be forever learning, forever curious about what sort of leader you can become. Discover your own preferences and those of your colleagues and find ways to adapt and connect to achieve brilliant results. Be self-aware, be a champion!