I am coming to believe more and more that self-awareness is a superpower in leadership.
The benefits of knowing your strengths, constraints, your leanings, wirings, giftings, the areas that give you the most trouble, how you come across to others, the things that trip you up, your emotional triggers, the things that fill you and the things that drain you, how you learn, how you process info, your biases, how you win influence, why people follow you, and why people don’t follow you is massive!
This is a lifelong journey that is designed to happen in community. You can only get so far on your own. At some point, you need other people who love you and care for you to speak into your life and help hold a mirror up so you can see yourself even more clearly.
There is nothing worse than someone who doesn’t see themselves clearly and also won’t let their guard down and invite people to speak into their blind spots. That person will most likely always be stuck and will never maximize their potential.
Here are some tips to start the process of growing in self-awareness.
1. Take several assessments. There is the DISC, Myers Briggs, Enneagram, Strengths Finder, Flippen Profile, and others. Do several of these.
2. Invite a few people that know you well and ask them for feedback. Be really transparent. Ask a ton of questions… even if the answer might hurt. “What annoys you about me?” Where do you think I am strong” Where am I weak?”
3. Keep at it. This is a life long journey. I am not advocating you become obsessed with self-awareness and as one guy called it ‘navel-gazing’. But I am saying… keep it in the back of your mind.
4. Learn from others. It is amazing how many moments of clarity I have had when someone has articulated a strength or a weakness to me. So I keep asking questions. Having conversations about this are important… to both you and the other person(s).
My Self-Awareness Stats
- I love to get to know people.
- I am curious.
- I love to problem-solve.
- I love to help others see clearly where they are maybe seeing fog.
- I can come across as standoffish or aloof.
- I put up a guard or suck the energy out of a room when I don’t trust people.
- I overdo sarcasm or joking around and can take things too far.
- I learn by reading/listening then verbally processing.
- I am a behind the scenes type person.
- I love to pour into and help develop leaders who are out front people.
- I win influence by being inquisitive/asking questions, taking a sincere interest in others, by being authentic, and aim to be of high character.
- I don’t have a big, force of nature personality so my influence is won in a softer, more nuanced way.
- I don’t have many hobbies or interest but what I am interested in, I get WAAAAYYYY deep.
- I am average at both the big picture and details. (Not being really great at one has bothered me in the past.)
- I get clarity when I bounce back-and-forth between the big picture and details.
- I don’t remember specifics but can remember the vibe of a conversation or the general idea of what someone shared.
- When I feel fear or out of control I try to control my environment around me which can cause me to be edgy and short (cause it’s hard to control others:).
- If I am not into something… I don’t do it. (Which drives my wife crazy cause I am not into home fix-it-up projects).
- I love to read and learn.
- I love to hang with people… especially driven, passionate people.
- I like deeper discussions.
- I can do surface for a bit, but the Cowboys surface talk runs thin for me pretty quickly… which can make me come across as standoffish or aloof.
- Being alone for too long drains me.
- I am way more organic in how I operate.
- I have to work hard to be structured and process-oriented. And then I struggle to follow the process because I lean so organic/in the moment.
- As mentioned earlier, home improvement projects drain me.
- People who talk all the time without asking questions drain me.
- I am a bridge-builder. I have a knack for being able to connect with people and help get them on the same page.
- I am an exhorter. Which is to make urgent appeals or urge strongly and positively.
- I am (usually) an energy giver (one person called me an igniter)
- I am at my best in the mornings.
- I do best when asleep by 9:30 PM and up early.
- Most former athletes are super competitive… not me. I am driven to grow and get better but have no interest in competing or comparing myself to others to see if I am winning. (Which even typing that feels very un-manly:)
My top five on Strengths Finder are:
I am a high I and S on the DISC.
What about you? Spend some time this week writing out what makes you tick, where you are strong, weak, etc.
Your role with others
As a leader, it is important that you help those you are leading grow in self-awareness. This is assuming, of course, that you are growing in your self-awareness.
One of the best, most encouraging ways to help is to ‘call out the gold’ in others. This is simply telling another person where they are strong, what you see in them, etc.
This is so key. We all need others to help chart our path in life… and calling out the gold in others is a key aspect in this.