Good leaders are self-aware, communicate effectively, delegate tasks, encourage strategic thinking and challenge their team. By developing skills such as strategic problem solving and active listening, you too can inspire others. You are aware that you, as a leader, influence your social environment and your department. The position you hold is not only hierarchically essential but also has a certain status. Your employees, colleagues and superiors expect you to behave in a certain way in the role of leader.
OK, but how do you become all that? How do you make time for reflection practice because what got you here won’t get you there! As Marshall Goldsmith says in his book. This requires deep reflection; of course, this takes time.
Moreover, especially when the world is full of tension and anxiety, it is even more critical to develop a practice of introspection. It often allows us to uncover our internal mechanisms, our automatisms. This is where the most significant learning occurs: those that allow us to disturb our beliefs and dogmas and open ourselves to new ways of seeing and apprehending the world around us.
Reflection is, therefore, an invitation to moments of introspection to learn from our experiences, capitalise and bounce back all the more effectively.
A paper and a pencil or a keyboard and off you go: as soon as you have a few minutes, in the metro, between two meetings, while having lunch, or even before going to bed, make notes, write questions, and the main events of your day. Then, reread them and learn from them; you will have your best leadership course: Make yourself your personal case study, explore, reflect, journal and learn. Go within because the payoff is enormous for you and others. The paradox of self-awareness activity is that you get to know yourself and others better.
Self-awareness is one of the critical components of emotional intelligence. Here are some pointers to help you on the path to knowing yourself better.
- Appreciate yourself
When you truly understand yourself, your forces and your flaws, you will appreciate others and value yourself for it by showing yourself kindness and gratitude. Self-compassion can change your energy by changing harmful notions of yourself into approving and nurturing self-beliefs. This is how you will transform yourself and then others.
2. Deterring derailment
Daniel Goleman, the guru of emotional intelligence, identified self-awareness as emotional awareness, accurate self-assessment, and self-confidence. In other words, it is all about knowing your emotions, your strengths and weaknesses, and having a solid sense of your worth. In his extensive study on leadership derailment, Daniel Goleman points out, “When I compared star performers with average ones in senior leadership positions, nearly 90 per cent of the difference in their profiles was attributable to emotional intelligence factors rather than cognitive abilities.” Work on your EQ
3. Guaranteeing long-term success
Great leaders have a long-term outlook for life and success. They are not here for the short-term but the long haul. Only leaders who practice consistent self-leadership can guarantee long-term success. Unless leaders have a sharp insight into who they are, they cannot stay focused on what’s important.
4. Self-leadership is an ongoing process of self-reflection.
Self-awareness is no one-time project. No less essential than the initial assessment of one’s strengths, weaknesses, values, and worldview is the ongoing, everyday habit of self-reflection, the examination. It’s an opportunity to measure life — a little bit at a time — against principles and goals.” Reflective leadership is a never-ending work that draws on continually maturing self-understanding.
Reflection exposes the ‘why’ of our experiences. It develops learning about what forms ‘I’, increasing self-awareness, leading to possible transformational evolution and developing the ability to inform prospective experiences. Yet, how often do we permit ourselves to honestly accept and examine what we believe and sense about our experiences? When we narrate the movie of our lives, we become our filmmakers, and analysing our experience provides intentional reflection and growth.