How to increase your Leadership Effectiveness and importance of Self-Awareness

What is self-awareness in the leadership context?

Self-Awareness is in the center of LeadershipMindset. Our emotions and actions form our mindset. The better we know about our feelings, like „what we are feeling and why we are feeling,“ the more it will help us understand how the emotions are supporting us and how they are hindering us from moving forward. In other words, self-awareness is the way to know what is happening in your body, brain, and environment. The environmental part is the relationship we have with others. So, we are also sensing what our impact is on others.

Apart from the emotions, self-awareness is also the ability knowing our strengths and limitations. This ability gives us the chance to be aligned with the reality, with the „now.“

We are always challenged to align our self-image with the feedback how others see and perceive us.

Let me share with you an example: I see myself as a good listener. I do my very best to listen carefully. Whenever I get involved in a discussion, my friends tell me that I interrupt the other person to bring my arguments. Until my friends share it with me, I believed that I am a good listener. Now here is a gap between what I think and how others perceive and see my actions.

Being clear on the reality gives a leader clarity on her values. The leader can be very candid and authentic about her visions. Authenticity provides the leader with the power to be more decisive and take action.

Impact on team performance

Research shows that 92% of the leaders with a high level of self-awareness had teams with high energy and high performance. In sharp contrast, leaders low in self-awareness created negative climates 78% of the time[1]. Effective leaders create a positive emotional climate that encourages motivation and extra effort, and they’re the ones with high level of self-awareness.

Self-awareness is our engine for continuous transformation

Every moment in life challenges us, so we have to work on our self-awareness continuously. We cannot say „now that’s enough, I have developed my self-awareness.“

Developing own self-awareness is a life-long process, which widens our perspective 360°. This holistic view makes self-awareness as the foundation for all kind of leadership mindset or styles we chose to act.

What are the driving values of self-awareness and which questions to ask to nurture it?

Autonomy: How often do you make use of your independence? Why and how important is freedom for you? To what extent are you self-determined?

Courage: How is your strength in withstanding danger, fear, and difficulty?

Reliability: Are you reliable in your interactions, relationships with others? How do you show it in day-to-day actions?

Adaptability: How fast can you adapt to new circumstances, without compromising your values?

Listening: Are you paying enough attention to listening and learning more?

Teamwork: Are you cooperating and at the same time showing the right dose of assertiveness to share your ideas for the sake of team goal?

Curiosity: How do you nurture your interest to become more creative? Are your exploring new territories? Are you observing yourself about what is happening to you?

Personal growth: How do you take care of your growth both in increasing technical savvy via learning new tools and techniques and mental development of better being connected with your inner and outer world?

Responsibility: Are you creating options for your reality and choosing one of the alternatives? Do you own the results of your actions without blaming, justifying, being of shame and feeling trapped in obligation?

All of this has an impact on paving your way towards self-expression, connecting and serving.

Where do you see yourself?

[1] EI at the Heart of Performance: The Implications of Our 2010 ESCI Research by Hay Group, available at: http://atrium.haygroup.com/downloads/marketingps/nz/ESCI_research_findings_2010.pdf &

Goleman, Daniel. Emotional Self-Awareness: A Primer (Building Blocks of Emotional Intelligence: The 12 Crucial Competencies) (Kindle-Positionen371-372). More Than Sound, LLC. Kindle-Version.