August 2013

Becoming Self-Aware

As I reflect on my third year in business, I am so energized by the amazing changes and positive results that the leaders I work with achieve when they allow themselves to become self-aware.

My clients have been quite diverse over this past year, both in the industries they serve and their leadership levels - from first time managers to CEO’s.  Despite their differences, each discovered that it’s not enough to have great intentions if you’re not clear on how you’re being perceived by those you lead.

Smoothing edges

There’s no such thing as a perfect leader. All leaders have what I call “edges” that may need smoothing. Great self-aware leaders know their edges and are always looking for the best ways to manage and adjust them. It’s perhaps not possible to be fully self-aware all of the time, but it’s a critical step in being able to grow effectively.  

Although the self-awareness journey is a lifetime process, even small shifts in self-awareness create big, powerful impacts.

Identifying self-aware people

Think for a moment about the most self-aware person you know.  Now think about all the ways they behave, and how you feel when you are around them.   For example, imagine that person in a conversation. 

Do they listen more or talk more?  Do they tell more or ask more?  Do they pay attention to social cues from others to help guide the conversation?  Is it easy for them to admit their mistakes, as opposed to placing blame on others?

Now think about the most self-aware leaders you know and think about the qualities they display.  How are you like or unlike them? What do you most admire about them?

Self-awareness and successful results

Ask yourself to envision what success would look like if everything was working the way you wanted.  As you get clear with that vision, think about what’s slowing you from getting there.  This means looking inside to discover important answers.

When things just don’t feel “right” or something seems missing, it’s usually time for some change.

If you are a leader committed to forward movement, think about continuing your own personal growth through a greater focus on self-awareness.  It doesn’t mean that you have to change who you are.  The changes you make will simply enhance your natural style versus change it completely.

I have never seen a leader make a total change in style or personality. What I have seen are important shifts that totally change the way that leader is seen by others.  

Personal Questions to Consider…

  •  Are you willing to move outside your “comfort zone” to explore higher levels of leadership competence through a deeper level of self-awareness?
  • How do your personal leadership behaviors enhance or undermine the results you are trying to achieve?
  • Are your actions in sync with your words?  How do you know?

The important point is this: we are always growing and changing. The opportunity is to create a focused approach to growth and change to allow a conscious effort to create the best results.

“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.” – Lao Tzu 


Watch for my new book in October: 

Simple Shifts:  Effective Leadership Changes Everything


Struggling with leadership effectiveness or business change?
If you’re looking to enhance your leadership effectiveness and would like some help to get the results you’re looking to achieve, you're in the right place. I help leaders to successfully navigate the challenges of making change to achieve positive results. Visit my website for details.


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Copyright © 2013 Terri Hughes, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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