How self-awareness can make you the best leader you can be

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All the best leaders I’ve ever met have been self-aware. They really understand how they come across, can manage their emotional state and model the right behaviours. The question is how best to develop this?

Based on my extensive experience of developing and coaching leaders, here are six ways that all leaders can increase self-awareness and optimise their leadership capacity.

1. Be open & curious

Becoming self-aware is not always such an easy journey and it can involve hearing things that make us uncomfortable. The starting point is to be humble, curious and open to how others might experience us. More than this; as you become more established in your leadership career actively encourage others to offer you their thoughts and feedback on how you come across.

2. Focus on your strengths too

It’s no longer a surprise to us that some people are as uncomfortable when colleagues offer them positive feedback as they are with ‘constructive’ feedback. We encourage our coachees to get really clear about their strengths and build internal belief through this.

3. Look deep within

Its great to hear what other people think about us but how do we feel about ourselves? Do we really understand how we tick, what motivates us when things are going well and what triggers us when it’s not going so well? As a leader, can we learn to like and value the way we are; appreciating our unique brilliance and also accepting our imperfections?

4. Seek out and find

There are many opportunities for leaders each day to improve and increase self-awareness; from a two minute corridor conversation with a colleague about how well you did in that meeting to regularly asking your team how your leadership is working for them. Find these opportunities and enjoy the process of learning in the moment.

5. Reflective practice

We only ever get better at something through the iterative process of doing and reflecting. From our experience and very understandably most leaders are great at the doing and less good at the reflecting. Give yourself time and space to reflect on how you feel, what you’re thinking and on any feedback others might have offered you.

6. Commit to change; be better and be different

Through the process of becoming more self-aware you will want to build on your unique strengths and also work on those areas where you can improve. When people see you make these changes and become an even more effective leader they will be inspired to make change and improve themselves.

My Leadership Insights 360° is bespoke, rigorous and practical, equipping you with the self-awareness you need to be the best leader you can be. Working with an Executive Coach, you seek out feedback, reflect and put together an action plan for real and meaningful change.

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