“To have greater self-awareness or understanding means to have a better grasp of reality.” – Dalai Lama
When you want to grow as a leader you must know about yourself first. You must recognize your talents and skills, and build skills around your talents. You must assess your strengths and weaknesses. Succinctly, you must have self-awareness. In fact, acquiring self-awareness is one of the greatest habits of extraordinary achievers. Most leaders are aware of themselves. They know their strengths and weaknesses and operate on their strengths to achieve leadership effectiveness. They know how to overcome their blind spots effectively.
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Merits of Self-Awareness
Being self-aware helps you understand yourself very well and get along with others easily. It improves your emotional intelligence and builds your leadership abilities. Emotional intelligence stands on four pillars - self-awareness, self-regulation, social awareness, and relationship management, and it starts with self-awareness. Self-awareness helps you correct your mistakes quickly and bounce back from failures effectively. You accept your flaws and earn respect from others. It promotes tolerance toward others’ ideas and views. It helps you remove negative thoughts from your mind and replace them with positive thoughts. It helps you manage your time and prioritize your tasks effectively. It helps you embrace change and enhance adaptability.
We human beings make many mistakes but we must learn to accept them graciously to grow as leaders. It is possible when you are aware of yourself. For instance, Warren Buffett makes a decision and analyses his decision later. It helps him understand his decisions and track the status of his progress. Peter Drucker once remarked, “Whenever you make a decision or take a key decision, write down what you expect will happen. Nine or 12 months later, compare the results with what you expected.”
Richard Branson is an amazing entrepreneur who knows his blind spots. He started Virgin Cola but failed. He realized his mistakes quickly and folded it with limited losses and with valuable leadership takeaways. It is a fact that all businesses will not be successful. Entrepreneurs explore various ventures, and only a few succeed while the majority fail. But the great thing about them is that they have self-awareness and know when to hold and when to fold.
Self-awareness builds your self-confidence. It helps you understand who you are as a person, as a professional, and as a social animal. It helps you achieve success quickly and provide meaning to your life.
Tips to Enhance Self-Awareness
Self-awareness leads to self-assessment and self-improvement. It helps leaders understand themselves and overcome their blind spots. Here are some tips to enhance your self-awareness:
- Undertake a Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) test to understand your personality type. It helps you gel well with others easily.
- Invest your time every day for some time to reflect.
- Reflect your thoughts on your journal and analyze them after a few days. It helps you understand and assess yourself.
- Find out what turns you on and turns you off.
- Set your goals and work on them. You understand your real capacities and unlock your hidden potential.
- Cultivate the art of writing. It helps you explore your mind and vent your feelings and emotions.
- Read books regularly.
- Write your failure resume.
- Have an open mind and listen to all sources.
- Hire a coach who can help you overcome your blind spots to grow as a professional and leader.
- Take feedback from others.
Malcolm Forbes once remarked, “Too many people overvalue what they are not, and undervalue what they are.” Most people overestimate their skills and underestimate their talents. Additionally, they overestimate themselves and underestimate others. Having self-awareness helps them estimate themselves and others accurately.
Only when you know about yourself properly, you will be able to lead others. It is observed that people often complain, criticize, and condemn others without introspecting about themselves. It is due to a lack of self-awareness. People with self-awareness work with what they have, and from where they are to excel as achievers and leaders. When you want to understand others, you must understand yourself first. When you want to understand yourself first, you must have self-awareness. When you want to lead others, you must know how to lead yourself. When you want to lead you must have self-awareness. Hence, self-awareness it the first step to leadership development. To conclude, acquire self-awareness to excel as an extraordinary achiever and leader.