You cannot pick up an article, book or study about leadership that doesn’t include some mention of the importance of self-awareness. In fact, it’s identified as one of the top competencies of effective leadership. It’s been studied from all kinds of angles, including team performance and firm profitability.
Interestingly, too many of those studies show that most leaders are sorely lacking in self-awareness. It used to be thought of as soft and squishy, but now we know that self-awareness is directly linked to maximizing a company’s performance. Why is self-awareness so powerful? How does it make such a difference?
While there are various, yet similar, definitions, self-awareness basically means that you are conscious of what’s going on inside of you and the impact it’s having outside of you. Your attitude, emotions and thinking together direct your behavior—what you say and do and how you react. If you aren’t attentive, you will behave in ways that minimize your effectiveness. If it’s not a priority, you exhibit blind spots that others see but you don’t, and they wonder why you don’t do anything about them.
You see, as a professional, you carry a level of esteem that others have of you, so their expectations of you are greater. Your words and behavior carry greater weight. If you are unaware of how you come across to them, you demonstrate your lack of awareness and consequently, diminish yourself and disappoint them.
The competency of self-awareness is fast becoming one of the key requirements when hiring, when considering you for your next promotion and what your prospects look for to determine if they want to work with you. No matter how much you wish, you cannot overcome your lack of self-awareness by using your strengths alone. That’s why developing your self-awareness is essential. So be aware. Self-aware.