Self-awareness is one of the key traits that make a good leader. It is a skill that has to be developed over the years through self-assessment and credible feedback. Successful people tend to know where their strengths and weaknesses lie.
A study What company or reference had THIS STUDY done please? found out that self-awareness amongst the high ranking officials of a company can adversely affect the company’s bottom line. An effective leader is able to identify what motivates them to make certain decisions and understand how those decisions affect them and their surroundings. Self-awareness allows business-builders to project conviction, yet, remain humble enough to accept new ideas and constructive criticism.
Sadly, today, self-awareness is very much in short supply amongst leaders.
Self-awareness is a critical trait any good leader should have, irrespective of the line of business; therefore, the real puzzle to solve is “how to become more self-aware”.
A study from the Hay Group Research found that women tend to be more self-aware leaders than men at higher-ranking positions in the business.
Here are a few reasons why self-awareness is important for a leader:
1. All Eyes on You
Becoming a leader is to climb up a hierarchical system through skill, talent, and foresight. Once someone does achieve the “leader” title, they inevitably become individuals who are responsible for steering a business or organization in tough and tricky times.
A leadership position, regardless of the individual’s personality, grabs more attention than anything else in a company: the attention of the employees, shareholders, clients, vendors, and at times, the media. This phenomenon results in people “following” a leader’s every move and word, giving them reassurance that there is some certainty to the organization.
A good leader displays this certainty through discipline, vision, a humbling attitude, and an ideology that is not biased by personal intentions or hatred. Self-awareness allows a leader to know himself very well.
Self-aware leaders have been learning about themselves for a long time and never stop. They recognize what triggers them and what brings them joy.
A good leader tends to avoid decisions that are not effective or efficient for the company. When a leader operates effortlessly, the company thrives; but when a leader is not aware of their cognitive blindspots, they end up making compromising decisions that eventually put their credibility to question. The more self-aware the leader is, the better the system he or she runs functions.
2. Effective Decision Making
Diligent decision making is another skill leaders possess. Without this ability, organizations can get chaotic and out of hand. A good decision-maker makes the right call at the right time, knowing very well what the probable outcome could be. A thorough analysis of a situation, before making a calculated decision is one of the first things self-aware people develop.
Self-awareness is a calculated analysis of collective information and actualization of one’s self.
Self-aware leaders are always seen playing on their strengths, and not weaknesses. The realization of their niche skills and execution of decisions based on these strengths always play in their favor as well as that of the organization. A good leader has to analyze potential risks in a decision, and devise alternatives when something does not go as planned, and always be prepared to think clearly in stressful dilemmas.
3. Time Management
Though there may be a large range of diverse ideologies by which a leader could be influenced, all leaders agree on one strong idea more than anything else in the world; the importance of “time”—effective time management is one of the key characteristics that define a good leader.
Self-awareness subconsciously wakes us up to the realization that time is literally of the essence. Time is worth more than any other commodity on the planet.
According to leaders, time is more important than money. A good leader with good time management skills helps an organization stay ahead of its competition. Time management can be developed, but without equally developing self-awareness, decisions would be haphazard.
4. Creative Growth
Creativity is a very rare trait a leader should possess. It is the ability to create something new out of old ideas and knowledge. Believe it or not, creativity has gotten the human race to where it is today.
To be creative, one must have gained mastery of a subject, through rigorous practice, to such an extent that he can mentally reach a space where he can use this knowledge and experience as a tool to drive innovation; and self-awareness is the key to achieving this.
Most leaders today, at some point in their lives, were masters of a subject. Once they managed to find their way around it and began being creative with their knowledge and skills, they became more self-aware, using that skill to their advantage.
Creative leaders can easily increase a company’s productivity and overall revenue, but creativity is one of the hardest things to achieve. Many leaders struggle to be creative because they do not enjoy the process of being creative. A good leader is creative enough to understand his employees and execute certain decisions creatively that help everyone grow.
Learning to understand ourselves and where we stand in society is the primary action that sets us on the path of self-awareness. Good leaders acquire this trait over years of discipline and skill development. They take notice of their surroundings and always try to improve it. They are able to connect to everyone in their organization and forestall conflict. Self-awareness is not as painstaking as it looks like, it helps us function and operate efficiently. That is why self-awareness in leadership is critical to success.