Several weeks ago I posted an article that got a ton of attention. The title was The 7 Signs of Poor Leadership. Since posting it has over 90,000 views. It must have struck a cord as I also had 2,700 Likes, over 1,050 re-shares and over 250 comments in which many people said they both saw these traits in their Managers and some even admitted they displayed the signs themselves. I had a lot of questions about how to avoid these, and the best answer I came up with, and one I still believe is the best solution, is self-awareness.
I have found NO good leaders that are not self-aware. Self-awareness gives them the ability to lead with a sense of purpose, authenticity, openness, and trust. It gives them a better understanding of who they are and helps them understand what they need most from other people, to complement their own strengths and weaknesses.
So here is my Christmas Gift to Leaders. A short and vital list of the 7 things that will help them become self-aware.
1. Keep an Open Mind
To be self-aware they have to be attuned to the emotions of others. A leader has to be curious about others, what they think and what they feel. And then they have to use these insights to relate and cooperate with them.
2. Understand Others Views
If they can’t hear other views and try and understand their validity, then they become close-minded and only know their own point of view. Listening and understanding others helps their creativity and fashions their beliefs by including a host of alternatives they would not have been aware of otherwise.
3. Set Goals
One of the ways to be more self-aware is to set goals. Not just business goals, but goals that take account of ten interrelated domains in our lives, as Michael Hyatt attests; spiritual, intellectual, emotional, physical, marital, parental, social, vocational, avocational and financial. These should be reviewed regularly to track progress and it forces them to think about their behavior.
4. Keep A Journal
One of the ways to be more self-aware is to keep a journal. Good leaders use this as another way of checking in with their thoughts and behavior. Make notes about what are they reading, what are they thinking, what’s getting in the way, what’s working?
5. Have a Daily Ritual
We all have a daily ritual but are not always aware it exists. Cleaning our teeth, making coffee, taking the dog a walk, listening to the news, checking on the weather. By weaving in other things and ensuring there is a process and an order to the morning and evening routine, good leaders make themselves self-aware of their thoughts and behavior.
6. Ask for Genuine Feedback
For leaders who are not self-aware, this is the toughest. Because they feel they open themselves up to criticism, but it is key if they are going to take being self-aware seriously. Only by getting feedback can they understand how they relate and come across to others.
7. Make a List of Strengths and Weaknesses
Those leaders that think they can do everything and are perfect at everything fail to lead. We are NOT perfect. None of us. We all have strengths and weaknesses. Good leaders recognize this and ask for help where they know they have weaknesses and empower others to help them.
So here’s my Christmas Gift to leaders. Hopefully, they will use the Holiday break to think about what has worked this year and more importantly, what hasn’t and then set goals and routines that will use the 7 things that will help them become more self-aware and thereby better leaders.
Happy New Year to All Leaders, everywhere!
Peter M. Beaumont is the Founder and Principal of ConnXN Consulting. He is also the author of The Relationship Roadmap, a comprehensive guide to building relationships with strategic clients. Find out more at www.ConnXN.net