Leader, Know Thyself

Aug 22, 2021

Self-awareness is fundamental to effective leadership. Cultivating self-awareness has been cited as one of the most critical capabilities for leaders to develop. With that in mind, knowing thyself is one of the single most important commitments leaders can make for themselves and their team that will afford positive business results and strong team dynamics.

The very act of being self-aware creates value and helps influence others. It is key to self-control, discernment, creativity, learning, growth, and moving oneself to a place of greater fulfillment in life and work.  

It takes tremendous courage to look deep inside and honestly assess the values that drive an individual’s best and highest self. Separation from ego may be the most challenging part of the process. Nevertheless, the payoff is in the authenticity and integrity in which leadership excellence is extended naturally in daily communication and action.  

Tasha Eurich, author of “Insight,” reports although 95% of people think they are self-aware, only about 10 – 15 percent genuinely are. This percentage suggests there is much opportunity for growth in this area.  

The good news is, self-awareness is a learnable skill. With concerted effort, anyone can develop the ability to be aware of personal thoughts, emotions, and values from moment to moment. For leaders, in particular, this sort of awareness arms them with significant knowledge of their strengths and weaknesses. It enables them to make better decisions that positively contribute to desired business outcomes.  

A study by Korn/Ferry International found that companies with the best financial performance tended to have people with higher levels of self-awareness than poorly performing companies. In brief, self-awareness impacts companies’ bottom line.

Knowing thyself does not happen overnight. It is a humbling process that comes from regular self-reflection and requires focus, discipline, vulnerability, and the courage to change. 

3 Tips for Building Self-Awareness:

Break out the Pen and Paper: Journaling helps identify patterns of behavior and unearth aha moments. Entries don’t have to be lengthy, just consistent. The value is in the consistency of the practice. Journaling is a way of reading our own minds.

Put Your Own Oxygen Mask on First:  Nourish your body. Get a good night’s sleep. Take breaks. Exercise your body. Meditate. All of these things play a critical role in decluttering and sharpening your brain function. The better you take care of your body, the more aware you will be of what it needs for optimal functionality.

Get Curious: Our culture, backgrounds, and experiences shape who we are, but we are ultimately responsible for who we become. Stop judging yourself and get curious about why you do the things you do. You’ll learn more about yourself and feel better in the long run. Never stop seeking to understand yourself.  

The one constant in everything you do is you; therefore, understanding yourself is paramount. However, many will wait to embark on the journey of conscious self-awareness until a significant life event happens or they’re triggered. That does not have to be you. The best time to build your self-awareness is before you need it.

Great leaders are self-aware and practice introspective activities daily. By understanding who you are, you can focus on the necessary strategies to elevate your leadership impact, empower your team, and drive better business outcomes.