There are many qualities to a leader that we tend to focus on. Traits such delegation, strong communication, and beaming confidence are quite standard when we reflect on what makes an effective leader. There is one attribute, however, that is often overlooked. This attribute is self-awareness. Being a person who is self-aware is transformative in the process of becoming an exceptional leader. If you know you who are and how you lead, then you can better focus on what others need from you and where your strengths lie.
How is it done?
Reflect: On a weekly, even daily basis, you should be asking yourself questions, trying to understand both yourself and your leadership style. Taking the time to reflect on who you are and what you are doing is a necessary step in becoming a self-aware person. It can be helpful to keep a notebook where you can write down questions to ask yourself and the answers you come up with. Try asking yourself questions like: What am I doing right? What am I doing wrong? What am I good at? How do I lead? How could I be leading better?
Listen first, speak later: Besides reflecting on yourself, listening instead of speaking is another large factor of being a self-aware person. When you are a leader in a meeting, ask your fellow teammates intelligent questions that make them think. Listen to what they have to say with an open mind instead of thinking about how you would solve the problem and what you want to say about your question.
What’s the point?
Being a self-aware leader creates an environment where people feel like they can create and grow ideas. Understanding how you lead will enhance your ability to communicate with others. You can adapt to situations more easily because you know how your brain works. Taking the time to understand why something is not working out or why you are frustrated with a fellow teammate instead of freaking out will improve your success and leadership capabilities. Growing in your self-awareness allows you to be a better person and leader. Take time out of your day to reflect and practice this awareness!