I have had some great coaching sessions this week. However, the major win was with a client who has positively shifted the mood and culture of the business almost overnight. After conducting a workplace culture audit, we presented the staff’s perceptions to the management team. They were horrified that their actions and behaviours were being negatively interpreted. This self-awareness resulted in a few simple changes to the way that managers engage with their teams, and the results are already speaking for themselves. Less than a month after presenting the results of the audit, motivation levels are up, job satisfaction has improved, productivity is on the increase and the bottom line is in a much healthier position.
The first step to improving anything in your life or in your business is self-awareness of the current situation.
Benefits of self-awareness
- Self-awareness allows you to truly understand your strengths and weaknesses. With this knowledge, you are able to work out what you need to focus on for personal growth and self-improvement. It helps you understand when you may be out of your depth and when to ask for help. In addition, it also helps you hire and recruit people who can compensate for your weaker areas.
- When you are self aware, you are less likely to find blame, make excuses or live in denial.
- People with self-awareness readily admit their mistakes and learn from them.
- You can control your emotions better when you understand why you feel the way you do.
It is easier to form relationships with others when you truly know yourself.
Importantly, self-awareness is the foundation of building EQ, which is crucial for leadership. Leadership requires awareness and management of others. If you are not aware of yourself, it’s not possible to be manage yourself. If you are not able to manage yourself, it is not possible to manage others.
Consequently, the higher up the ladder you are, the more important self-awareness is. However, the conundrum is that the more senior you are, the less feedback you tend to get from the people you work with. Your colleagues and subordinates are less likely to give you feedback or share their real opinions, either due to respect for authority or fear of repercussions. As a business owner or corporate leader, you need to consciously focus on self-awareness.
So, how do you increase self-awareness?
- Personality tests – there are many assessments you can do to benchmark your skills, aptitude, personality, leadership style and motivators. These give you valuable information about what makes you tick, what to be aware of and what may be misinterpreted by others.
- Informal and formal feedback – if you don’t understand how you are perceived, your actions can be misconstrued. Encourage open and honest one-on-one feedback sessions, 360 degree assessments and casual requests for feedback on your performance, behaviour and actions.
- Find a “boss” who can keep you in check – sometimes even the boss needs a boss. Your peers, your spouse, a trusted and successful friend, a mentor **or your business and executive coach** who can hold up a mirror to your blind spots and hold you accountable for your actions and behaviour.
- Take time to reflect – as business owners and executives, it is important to take time out to think. Not only about the business, but about yourself. How can you improve personally, what self-limiting beliefs are holding you back, how can you be a more inspiring leader, how can you overcome your weaknesses?
Think about it. Leaders can know their industries, their markets, their competitors, the latest strategic methodologies, and their objectives. But unless they know themselves, they won’t be able to lead their teams to make their business dreams a reality.
“A workplace that encourages self-awareness is an environment where the most curious and innovative people thrive.” Neil Blumenthal.
If you’d like to get to know yourself, let’s meet!