Self-Awareness and Leadership

Self awareness is one of the most important leadership competencies yet it is not often the focus of a conversation until there is a misstep. Subordinates have sayings about it, some of the more polite ones being “the bull in the china shop,” “too much information,” or  “won’t let it go”.

I see it in leaders who charge forward without input from the team. I also see it in leaders who have only people like them on their teams. Over and over again I see people frustrated in their interactions with people who have different styles.

“Just give it to me in bullet-points.”

“I can’t follow your logic. You leave out half the steps”.

“Every month we have a new focus!”

All our styles are valuable and necessary. The issues that arise when we interact without understanding the differences can be huge frustration, waste of time and productivity, and loss of good team members.

How can you address this? Many companies use personality style assessments and compare them with the job.This is a great place to start. Not only do most people like to learn more about themselves, most people need to find the words to describe themselves and how they work with others who aren’t just like them.

Don’t stop with personality assessments on yourself and your team. Spend time understanding the difference between styles and how they communicate.

In case you are wondering, I have leaders with all personality styles in my Vistage groups. That says to me that you can be a successful leader your way. If you understand who you are, you can create a team around you that provides what you don’t have so that the company as a whole succeeds.

This week, create an action plan with 2-3 things you will work on to improve your relations with others who are not your same type. You know who they are – they are the ones you understand the least. Ask them for 2 things you could do to make the relationship better. Then go work on those.


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