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5 Questions To Ask About Your Leadership Self-Awareness

Posted by Louellen Essex on December 19, 2013 in Leadership

The best leaders are highly self-aware. Capitalizing on their strengths, while remediating or supplementing their weaknesses, they have learned to work effectively with the whole package they bring to their roles. Style profiles (i.e. Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, DISC Profile) are a great beginning, but they can be skewed by faulty self-perceptions. Here are some questions you can ask yourself, to discover even more about who you_ really_ are in the way you perform your leadership role:

1. In what way is your work unit/organization different since you arrived?
Good leaders make a difference. When others look back on the time you spent in your role, think about what they will remember. If you are simply maintaining what you inherited or focusing on low-hanging fruit, it might mean you haven’t yet found the leader within you.

2. How are you different since you started your leadership role? What does the “before” and “after” look like?
If you are learning from the activities in which you engage and from the staff and colleagues with whom you work, you should note significant change. The best leaders are curious about others’ perspectives, absorbing new points of view from those around them. They ask lots of questions and listen intently, gathering information from every encounter. If you are growing through your leadership experiences, it will be apparent to you that transformation has transpired.

3. When was the last time you admitted you were wrong and did you apologize and how?
It’s impossible for a leader to do and say the right things all of the time. If you can’t remember the last time you apologized, it may be an indication that you have overlooked mistakes that you made or found it difficult to own up to your weaknesses. Research says that we like leaders better when they acknowledge their imperfections, making them seem more human.

4. When did you last mentally debrief a work experience, reflecting on what you personally did well and not so well?
Taking the time to analyze your behavior, considering alternatives you might have chosen, is essential to building your self-awareness. Avoid rushing through each day without setting aside time to think about your approach to the work at hand.

5. What specific feedback, both positive and negative, have you recently received and how did you respond?
If you have created an open communication climate with those around you, honest feedback should come your way. It might arrive through a 360-degree assessment or more informally. Learn what you can from it, then show appreciation to those who have given it, ensuring they will continue to help you learn more about how you are perceived. Patterns emerging from the feedback will help you gain valuable insight about what you do well and where you might improve.

Begin to pay more attention to yourself. Note your approach to each activity you perform. More carefully observe the responses you get. Self-surveillance will put you on the path to greater self-awareness.

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In these times of rapid change, leaders can never stop learning.”

Dr. Louellen Essex