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Creating Successful Leaders

A recent article published in the Harvard Business Review claims that one quality rises above the rest when it comes to great leadership: self-awareness. In the article, titled “How Leaders Become Self-Aware”, author Anthony Tjan poses a question to help us understand what is meant by self-awareness: “What motivates you and your decision making?”

Are you prepared to respond? Unless you have already made practice in self awareness part of your everyday and you’ve taken the assessments and consulted with others, you may struggle to answer Tjan’s question.

Tjan outlines three steps that all of us can take to become better leader in our life. Because I do a lot of work with self-awareness as an Insights Practitioner, I’m always combing through new resources for my coaching when it comes to self-awareness. I thought Tjan’s pointers were spot on and provided some great ideas for improving effectiveness and interactions.

Test and Know Yourself Better

This translates simply to take a personality test. I know it sounds simple (and the process can be as simple as answering questions about yourself for half an hour online, in the case of Insights Discovery), but this quick gesture, when given reflection, can transform the way you work and your relationships with others. Tjan advocates self-assessments because “they facilitate self-reflection, which leads to better self-awareness.”

Watch Yourself and Learn

This step plays out on a more long term scale, but can have big takeaways when done correctly. The process of this step is simple: when making a big decision, always record your reasons for that decision and then revisit these reasons 9-12 months later. What panned out and what didn’t? Tjan labels this practice as feedback analysis and explains that its effectiveness is found in two steps: “a) codify rationale and motivators and b) reflect and assess outcomes.”

Be Aware of Others, Too

Self-awareness is no good if you live alone on an island—the real power of this knowledge reveals itself when you interact with others on a team. “Knowing your natural strengths and weaknesses makes you a better recruiter and allocator of talent,” says Tjan. But this knowledge is most effective when you’re aware of the strengths of those around you, because this results in a group of people who both “understand and complement each other.” A strong team is founded on the diverse approaches and skills of its members, and because these members approach tasks differently, this promotes learning and feedback within the group—it leads to innovation.

Have questions about self-awareness? Feel free to contact me for answers.

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