How Well Do You Know Yourself?

By: Pamela Walters, June 5, 2018

Organizations desire to harness the power of individuals and teams to create value for stakeholders, customers and their brand. The best products and services cannot be developed or delivered without exceptional leaders and employees giving their best every day. What do you bring to your organization?  How do you invest those attributes to demonstrate excellence in processes and meeting goals? How well do you know yourself? The answer will reveal passion, interests, your perception of skills and impact. It also reveals what you will sacrifice to invest in doing more of it.

Primary tools used to demonstrate value include skills, experience, knowledge and willingness to seize opportunity. What about soft skills: how we relate to one another, clarity of communication and purpose in actions or how we navigate ambiguity and change? What soft skills do you eloquently use to bring excellence to your work and others – your “secret sauce” such as listening, perspective, honor others’ viewpoints or being able to simplify the complex? Keen self-awareness and choosing to adjust behavior to accommodate situations will increase productivity, effectiveness and leverage relationships strategically.

Self-awareness as defined by expert, Dr. Tasha Eurich, is the ability to see ourselves clearly, understand who we are, how others see us and how we fit into the world. Through her research, she has found that 95% of professionals believe they have good self-awareness but only 10-15% truly are. The improvement journey involves two components, internal – understanding values, motives, patterns and reactions; and external – know how other people see you.

Thinking about these areas is not the same as knowing. One must seek honest feedback and give it to others. For example, a leader preparing for feedback reflects on a direct report by asking: what does this person contribute to our success or what behavior do I need from them to help me & the team be more successful? Providing or receiving this type of specific and productive feedback will be a game changer as it becomes a standard practice.

The questions we ask ourselves and others should expand our framework, challenge us to new levels of thinking, acting and leading. For the leader, what do you need to see and understand about self as a leader of people, as a leader of achieving results and as a leader of the future? Purpose to be curious in examining patterns, subsequent responses by others and resulting outcomes.  Understand how you fit and relate to stakeholder groups and what changes could improve influence, motivating others, decisions and communicating with clarity.  Doing so will engender bolder moves, harness the power you have to invest in your team and the organization’s success.