What kind of leader are you?
Do you even know?
Another question: does your image of yourself as a leader align with how your employees perceive you?
When is the last time you asked?
What Makes a Great Leader?
The discrepancy between how leaders perceive themselves and how their employees experience their leadership is often vast. This phenomenon is not unique; in fact, it’s prevalent in many of the organizations we work with — but we can help.
The root of the problem is self-awareness. That is to say, self-awareness of the leader.
According to the Harvard Business Review, 40% of CEOs have MBAs. They have the “book smarts” of what it takes to be a great leader, but often lack the humanity to understand and connect with their teams.
Don’t get me wrong, an MBA and other formal business education is useful in leading a team and organization, but it’s not enough to be a great, truly effective leader.
HBR provided even more research indicating that leaders, especially in C-level positions, with a stronger sense of self-awareness were more well-received by their teams, peers and clients.
In fact, many of those same leaders did not have an MBA and were more successful than their MBA-holding counterparts.
Leaders can improve their self-awareness and become more present in their teams by following a few pointed steps.
Turn Down Your Inner Monologue.
Have you ever had a conversation with someone where instinctively you were responding in your mind before they even finished their sentence?
It’s natural for our brains to jump to the next thing without properly absorbing the information at hand.
However, when you start to tune out others or begin to formulate your response before they’re even finished, you run the risk of missing valuable information.
Becoming a more present, self-aware leader means catching yourself in these moments and slowing down your thought patterns.
Leaders often get so absorbed in their own world that they miss out on important cues from their teams, such as cultural mishaps, concerns or employee dissatisfaction.
Practice Awareness in Your Personal Life.
Look at your personal relationships — friends, family, your spouse.
Are you emulating the same patterns in your personal life as in your work teams?
Adopting a personal practice of awareness, whether that be through meditation, exercise, writing or just committing to more active listening, can trickle over into your professional life.
Awareness means to be notice your emotions, your reactions to both difficult and favorable situations, how you interact with others, and how you perceive yourself.
For example, you can get started with mindfulness at your next meal. Put away your phone, turn off the TV, close your laptop and focus on exactly what you’re doing in that moment. Taste each bite, notice how you chew, notice where your thoughts go, but don’t judge them.
Enhancing your personal relationship with awareness is a solid starting point for becoming more aware in the workplace, and even with family.
It’s Not Too Late to Start
Perhaps the best thing you can do as a leader to improve your awareness is by asking questions, being open to feedback, and then adapting to what you hear.
Be a curious leader. Be open to change.
We Can Help!
Ask us about our Executive Talent Solutions!