What do all successful leaders have in common?
They understand their strengths and blind spots and continually check in to ensure they are working with each of these effectively.
Leaders who practice self-awareness set themselves up to become better managers, strategists, and teammates. Just as it helps to understand the behaviours of those you work with, recognizing your own tendencies is vital. When you see behaviours manifesting in yourself, you can check those habits before you lean too heavily on them.
- Do you know what makes you feel ‘at your best’ and ‘alive’, and do you actively build on these?
- Do you understand your emotions – eg. how you react to difficult situations?
- Do you know what your triggers and stressors are, and have a plan for managing stress and disappointment?
- When you something doesn’t go to plan or you receive criticism, ask: “How can I learn from this experience?”
Stay curious and try to take regular steps to learn more about yourself.
The more often you can apply this sort of introspective approach to your professional life, the more it will benefit your leadership, your team and your results. Increasing self-awareness is a practice that should be at the forefront of any leader’s development.
Of course, to effectively lead a team, you not only need self-awareness, but you also need to have a clear understanding of the emotions and behavioural drivers of your team members.
These questions also apply to understanding your team members:
- What makes your team members feel ‘at their best’ and ‘alive’, and do you support them to actively build on these?
- How do your team members react to difficult situations?
- Do you know your team member’s triggers and stressors, so that you can support them through challenging periods?
By understanding what drives or triggers each of your team members, you will be able to support, empower and motivate them much more naturally:
- Align tasks to suit individuals (which will increase success)– some people love the lime-light, while others prefer to take a back seat… some enjoy innovating and creating ideas, while others prefer the detail and process..
- Enhance communication and hold effective meetings (imagine that!!) – eg. some individuals like to ‘think outloud’ and use meetings for this purpose, while others need time to process information, so brainstorming meetings aren’t ideal for them.
- Tailor the way you provide feedback – some like direct feedback, while others need to be guided more gently
- Genuinely support your team members when they are stressed or triggered
Behavioural assessments are incredibly useful in building self and team awareness. They help to identify what makes an individual ‘tick’- what their core drivers are, and which helps to understand why they act in a certain way, or what tasks they would be more aligned to. By having this insight, it also helps improve the entire team’s dynamic through more effective communication, meetings, tasks allocation and support required.
There’s a myriad of options out there – my favourites are:
- Predictive Index – the most simple, quick (while highly valid) tool on the market – using word association to quickly identify what makes you ‘tick’. It focuses on the strengths of an individual to identify what type of work you best align with, what you may find challenging and what work styles energise you most. The results also allow for role and team alignment discussions, to identify strengths and strategic gaps for the team as a whole.
- Human Synergistics LSI – is a more in-depth behavioural assessment, which identifies both strengths and development areas. It identifies ways that you can behave in a more constructive manner, while reducing passive or aggressive tendencies. This is ideally completed as a 360 degree assessment to provide profound insights into your work styles and interaction with others, to empower you to enhance and enjoy everything you do.
Ultimately, understanding yourself and your team improves motivation, collaboration and ultimately better results.
If you’d like to learn more about how to become more self and team aware– reach out for a chat!