Mirror, Mirror on the wall…Am I the Leader I Think I Am?

If you’re a leader at any level of the organization, you’ll be pleased to hear that there’s one thing that experts have been agreeing on for many years that is important to effective leadership – greater self-awareness.  It’s not an idea that’s hot today and cool tomorrow. Work on increasing your self-awareness.  It won’t go out of style.  Only good things can happen.

Pick up a copy of Daniel Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence book published in 1998 and you’ll read him making the connection between higher self-awareness and effective leadership.  In fact he claims a link between self-awareness and financial performance.

Fast forward to 2009 and a study by Green Peak Partners, with Cornell University.  They found that among the 72 CEOs they studied a high self-awareness score was the strongest predictor of overall success.

In his terrific book The Power of the Other (2016), Henry Cloud provides many examples of how leaders’ low self-awareness failed them.  People who didn’t see the need to seek advice, input, or accountability from anyone.   There are also stories of executives who knew better and who attribute their success to the people they surrounded themselves with.

See a pattern here?

As I coach the leaders of businesses, from CEOs to front line sales managers, to become better coaches and leaders we always start working on their self-awareness.

It’s usually eye-opening.  Tests my firm uses to help drive the self-awareness conversation always generate healthy dialogue.  Some clients might push back a little and claim “that’s not really who I am”, but mostly my clients are open to the message.

With Blindspots, everyone has a way to start or continue the journey of seeing things about themselves for the first time.

So how can you increase your self-awareness?

1 – First, you have to really want to get better at being you.  If you feel like you’re fine and everyone else is screwed up that’s like trying to enter China without a VISA.  You ain’t goin’ nowhere.

2 – Catch yourself being you.  This requires a journal and intention, but doesn’t take much time.  Yesterday it took me 4 minutes to jot down my reactions to six different things that happened to me.  Here are three.  I noted my reaction to my dogs taking a lot of time sniffing on our afternoon walk (impatient); I noticed my reaction to a minivan in my way taking a lot of time to park (judgment); I noticed my reaction to my son’s request for laptop troubleshooting (I was actually really patient on this one).

3 – No judgment to your reactions.  You can’t judge your reactions because if you do you’ll likely defend them, and you won’t learn something the moment has to teach you.  Game, set, match.  Put a fork in you.  When you don’t invite judgment you get closer to the you that is really you.

4 – Be brutally honest.  Like no judgment, honesty is key.  I asked a group of clients recently what they thought of someone being “phony”.  No surprise, no likey.  Then I said if they’ve ever not been 100% honest with themselves about a situation, maybe blaming someone else for a poor outcome when in fact they too were culpable, then they were actally being phony.  Hmmm.

Taking the time to see in yourself what others see more easily, being honest and vulnerable, and wanting to become a better version of you can steadily, significantly change how you behave.

Give it a try.

Good selling,

Mark Sellers

Author, Blindspots: The Hidden Killer of Sales Coaching Buy the book Blindspots here

and The Funnel Principle: What Every Salesperson Must Know About Selling Buy The Funnel Principle book here

Creator of the BuyCycle Funnel customer buying journey sales model, the most time tested, proven customer buying journey model on the market

Learn more about coaching and leading with short videos like this one on our website

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