Self-awareness in leadership

“Changing an organization, a company, a country – or a world – begins with the simple step of changing yourself.” – Tony Robbins

Growth is one of our essential human needs. Personal growth, professional growth, growth in our relationships – they’re all vital to living a fulfilling life. We gain growth in these areas not by looking outward, but by looking within.

It all starts with self-awareness. Self-awareness in leadership has been proven to improve communication, increase effectiveness and even affect a company’s profitability.

Despite the fact that self-awareness and leadership go hand in hand, this trait is in short supply: One study found that only 19% of female executives – and only 4% of male executives – exhibited “strong” self-awareness.

That leaves plenty of room for you to master this area and start making a real difference in your organization.

Discover how to become a great leader by focusing on self-awareness

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Benefits of self-awareness in leadership

Why do you need self-awareness in leadership? Yes, it will help you get that promotion and give killer presentations. But the benefits of self-awareness in leadership go far beyond that.

  • Personal growth. In order to use your strengths to your advantage and work on improving your weaknesses, you must first be aware of them. In short, you can’t grow and evolve as a leader without self-awareness.
  • Emotional intelligence. This is the ability to identify and influence others’ emotions and decisions. You must be able to identify and control your own emotions before you can relate to others, and that starts by learning about self-awareness and leadership.

self awareness in leadership

Benefits of self-awareness in leadership

  • Trust in the workplace. Self-awareness in leadership is the first step to making a true connection with your team. By recognizing your own strengths and weaknesses, you can better recognize others’ and give them the appreciation they need, therefore building trust in the workplace.
  • Adaptability. Being more aware of your body language and speech patterns allows you to adapt to any situation. You’ll be able to better deal with anxiety that stems from public speaking and overcome other fears, so you can nail any presentation or interview with ease.

self-awareness and leadership

How to develop self-awareness in leadership

The benefits of self-awareness in leadership could change the entire course of your career. You can’t afford not to follow these eight steps to leverage self-awareness and leadership in the workplace.

1. Examine your emotions

Too many of us go through life repressing our emotions rather than listening to them. One study found that just 36% of people are able to accurately identify their emotions as they occur. Next time you feel a strong emotion, ask yourself, “What is this telling me? How can I react most productively?”

2. Examine your interactions

Examining your emotions is an aspect of personal competence, or internal awareness. Leaders also need social competence, which includes situational awareness. Think about past interactions you’ve had where you felt uncomfortable or may have made someone else feel that way. What signs did you see that you weren’t connecting in the right way?

3. Find your patterns

Emotions lead to actions and actions create our lives. Once you’re in the habit of examining your emotions, begin to look for patterns. Do you find you get defensive or make excuses when something doesn’t go your way? You can change these patterns – but only if you’re honest with yourself.

4. Ask for input

You can measure your current level of self-awareness by comparing your own evaluation of yourself and your performance with feedback you solicit from others. Ask your boss, employees and colleagues for an honest assessment. Does it match up with how you thought you were being perceived?

5. Learn to adjust

When you’re in a 1:1 meeting with an employee, you’ll need to use different skills than if you are presenting to a client or interviewing a new hire. Self-awareness in leadership is about taking your newfound knowledge and emotional mastery and using it to adjust your actions to any situation.

6. Practice self-discipline

Discipline, self-awareness and leadership are the perfect partners. Self-discipline is what allows you to catch yourself before you do something that isn’t in line with your leadership values. Mindfulness exercises like priming and meditation can help you build self-discipline and take time out to reflect.

7. Stay curious

People are always changing – growth is one of the six human needs and is essential for living a fulfilling life. We’re always encountering new situations and experiencing different reactions that we may not understand. Self-awareness in leadership is a lifelong process, and you must stay curious.

8. Get a coach

In an article in MIT Sloan Management Review, researchers interviewed more than 2,000 international executives and found that for those who used leadership coaching, self-awareness was the most frequently cited outcome. A Tony Robbins Business Results Coach could give you the insight you need.

Realize the benefits of self-awareness in leadership

Explosive growth, inspiring leadership and unprecedented success all start with self-awareness. Get started with a coach today.