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  • Writer's pictureShandy Welch

# 4 Self-Awareness

Here we go, #4.

  1. Integrity

  2. Delegation

  3. Communication

  4. Self-Awareness

  5. Gratitude

  6. Learning Agility

  7. Influence

  8. Empathy

  9. Courage

  10. Respect

It has been said that all great leadership begins with self-leadership. Understanding how you think and the effect that has on your behaviors, relationships, and organization is pivotal. Having a strong sense of self creates a platform for collaboration, humility, and connection with others which in turn makes for more successful leaders and organizations.

Self-awareness has two subcategories:

  1. INTERNAL: Awareness of our personal biases, reactions, and interpretations of situations and communication. It is the foundation on which our perception is based and the motivation from which we work.

  2. EXTERNAL: Awareness as to how others perceive us and the dynamic that it creates. How we use this is directly connected with our motivation to lead.

Both of these will dictate and support your experiences and relationships and are worth looking at separately.

Recognizing and integrating the idea that your perception of a situation, person, or circumstance is contingent upon many factors: your training, background, prior relationships, and the list goes on. This is the lens from which we interpret and see the world. Awareness as to how you are filtering information will allow you to more thoughtfully communicate and thus avoid reactionary behavior.

Metacognition, understanding how you think, and incorporating this into how you interact with others is a learned skill. Relationships will shift into 3D as you account for many unspoken or unseen contributors. Navigating and using these clues to connect and strategize is next-level leadership. Developing skills around emotional intelligence (EQ) and Positive intelligence will awaken a depth of insight and the complexity of interpersonal relationships.

How you use this insight and awareness is the next step. Recognizing your influence and what motivates your choice is interesting to examine. For example, medical providers can don the white coat, and that choice unleashes consequences. Assumed power, influence, and knowledge and simultaneously hierarchy, intimidation, and fear. Which do you want, and what will that serve you and your patient best?

Is it a choice of one or the other or can you have both? To achieve both is to become self-aware and use that knowledge and insight to dictate your choice. No longer are you acting from the ego but from service to others and the greater good. Which is most important to you?

Investing in self-awareness and uncovering blindspots may feel like a daunting task. Certainly, it is “easier” to become a dictator and disregard the effect you leave on others, but that is not a sustainable nor a respected leadership style. Introspection will lessen your burden, decrease your stress and enable your team to work at their highest level.

I invite you to look inward. Face the fear of questioning and learn your perspective, intentions, and motivations. It is from this place that you will evolve into a leader that is admired and followed. Enlightenment does not come from something outside of yourself, it only comes from within.

  • This is a great article from Wharton Magazine on Leadership and Self Awareness.

  • A wonderful podcast with Andy Stanley and Patrick Lencioni on The Motivation of a Leader.

  • Enlisting a coach or mentor to support you in this work, and asking difficult questions is a great way to develop self-awareness.

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