The most important quality for a leader to develop is self-awareness.
While leadership is about creating change and inspiring others to act, in order to do this successfully we must devote ourselves to our own personal growth and development so we can be authentic in our interactions with others.
In our highly competitive culture we often feel like we must appear as though we know everything and have all the answers or else worry that people will question our abilities. However, the opposite is really true.
Great leaders aren’t great because they are super-human, but because they are real people. They know how they find meaning in their lives and live each day with purpose and intention. This gives them a self-confidence and resolve that inspires others. It also creates openness and trust, and it empowers others to lead authentically, as well.
Self-aware leaders are focused on change. Instead of self-defeating behaviors, such as blaming or deflecting, a self-aware leader asks questions that will result in better outcomes and more positive relationships with others.
The good news is that self-awareness is a learned trait.
One of the first blog posts I wrote was on the topic of values. This is because knowing our values is the foundation for our self-awareness. We must understand our motivations before we can align our actions with what’s truly important to us. We can’t be authentic if we don’t know ourselves at a deep level!
Values help us determine the “rightness” of our choices. They also help us realize when we are making choices that might not be right for us. A decision made that is aligned with your values will always be the more fulfilling decision. If you intentionally consider your values when making decisions, your values can help you determine whether or not you are making a choice that is good for you.
I encourage you to go through the values activity listed in that blog post to help develop your self-awareness – and to determine how authentically you’re living your life based on what’s most important to you.