Have you recently been promoted to a leadership position? Or, have you been managing people for a while but feel that you might not be doing an effective job?
No matter where you currently stand, if you’re wondering how to become a better leader, one of the first steps is to work on increasing your self-awareness.
In fact, some recent studies suggest that a high level of self-awareness is a greater predictor of business success than having an MBA.
These seven hacks will help you become more self-aware and improve the way you manage your team.
What is Self-Awareness?
There are two types of self-awareness. First, there’s internal self-awareness. This is the way we see ourselves, our values, our passions, and our impact.
People who have a high level of internal self-awareness typically experience higher levels of job and relationship satisfaction. They may also experience greater feelings of personal and social control and lower levels of anxiety, depression, and stress.
There’s also external self-awareness. This is our understanding of the way other people view us, our values, our passions, and our impact.
People who have a high level of external self-awareness have an easier time empathizing and viewing situations from other people’s perspectives.
Why is Self-Awareness Important?
As a leader, you need to have a good idea of what you want, what drives you, and the impact you’re making on the people you’re meant to be leading.
You also need to understand how you’re coming across to other people and how they might be interpreting your actions.
You can listen to all the motivational podcasts you want, but if you’re not thinking about what you want and how others see you, you’re going to have a hard time being a truly effective leader.
You should always try to learn more about how you view yourself and how other people view you.
Whether you’re working with a recruitment office to bring new people onto your team or are trying to land a new, important client, self-awareness is key.
Top Seven Self-Awareness Hacks
Self-awareness matters a great deal if you want to be a successful leader. But, how do you become more self-aware? Start by implementing these seven self-awareness hacks.
1. Know What You Don’t Know
Nobody can know absolutely everything, and self-aware people realize this. Instead of pretending that you’ve got all the answers, own up to the things you don’t know.
Once you’ve figured out where the gaps in your own knowledge lie, you can work on building a team of people who can help fill those gaps. Maybe you need to bring on more creative people, or maybe you need to bring people in who are more logical and organized.
Let your knowledge of what you don’t know help you build a well-rounded, effective team.
2. Critically Analyze Your Communication Methods
Pay careful attention not just to the words you use, but the way in which you use them.
Before sending an email or text, take a moment to reread it and ensure that the point you’re trying to make comes through. Think before you speak, too, and consider how your words could possibly be misinterpreted.
Keep your body language and non-verbal communication in check, too. It can seem like a lot at first. Over time, though, it will be easier for you to perform these checks and balances on yourself.
3. Assume People are Watching You
As a leader in your business, people are almost always going to be paying attention to what you do and say.
You don’t need to be paranoid, of course, but it’s important to remember that you’re usually be watched.
Even if you think no one is around, make sure your words and actions paint a good picture of you, just in case.
4. Assume that Others Have Good Intentions
If you find yourself getting defensive when someone presents you with a problem or offers feedback, it’s important to take a step back and ask yourself why you’re always feeling attacked.
Consider whether or not you’re just assuming that people have negative intentions.
Instead of assuming the worst, try assuming that, when people come to you with feedback or criticism, it’s coming from a good place. You’ll be able to respond in a better, more measured way.
5. Ask Hard Questions
Talk to your team members and ask them directly what they think of your performance. Do they find any of your behaviors frustrating or your instructions unclear?
Ask for honest feedback and accept it graciously. Then, take that feedback and work on improving the way you present yourself to the people you lead.
6. Perform a Daily Self-Reflection
It’s also helpful to spend time each day reflecting on your behaviors. Ask yourself how you communicated with the people in your office.
Did you communicate clearly? Did you make assumptions or get defensive?
Be brutally honest in your reflection and look for patterns in your behavior. For example, do you have a harder time communicating with certain team members? Are you more likely to misinterpret emails compared to face-to-face conversations?
Meditation can also be a helpful tool for people who want to become more self-aware. Setting aside time each day to sit quietly and work on being less-reactive is very effective.
After meditating for a while, you’ll likely find that it’s easier for you to be objective and create space between yourself and any issues you might be experiencing in the workplace.
Want to Learn More about How to Become a Better Leader?
As you can see, increasing your level of self-awareness can take you a long way as you continue to try and figure out how to become a better leader.
Are you looking for more information on how to improve your leadership style? Or, do you need help gaining the motivation you need to change your life? Be sure to check out the inspiration and motivation section of our site.