Who Are You as a Leader?
So much emphasis is placed on the more obvious attributes of good leaders and managers such as communication, decision-making, team building, change management, and strategic thinking.  But the truly great leaders are adept at analyzing the way they are perceived by others, understanding how this perception jibes with their own self-assessment, and closing the gaps to help their teams to perform at their peak. In short, they know how to increase leadership self-awareness.

Do You Know How You Are Perceived as a Leader?
New leaders, especially, are often so focused on delivering THE WHAT to deliver expected performance results that they often underestimate the importance of THE HOW they are going about getting the results. Because strategies must go through people and culture to be successfully implemented, the better leaders are at self-awareness, the better they and their teams can navigate challenges, support each other, and perform.

Three Easy Strategies to Increase Leadership Self-Awareness
Because studies show that self-awareness is a strong predictor of individual and team success, most new manager training and action learning leadership development programs include 360 feedback.  If you are not lucky enough to be part of a formal 360 feedback process, in addition to asking for and being open to feedback each and every day, here are three strategies to increase leadership self-awareness:

  1. Take the Time to Reflect
    It’s important to set aside some time every week to reflect on the past week’s experiences. In general, how did things go? Were you able to accomplish what you had hoped? Was your team making the kind of progress you expected?If not, why not?How might your beliefs, actions, or behaviors make a difference in the coming week?
  2. Consider How Others See You
    How would you identify yourself? First think about those characteristics like gender, age, race, and nationality that you were born with. Then add characteristics that you have chosen such as your work and professional role, your friends, your family, your skills, and your hobbies. Finally, define your core values and beliefs.Do you think the way you define your social identity is close to the way your followers perceive you? How much do you think their perception colors your interactions? Do they view your leadership in the way you’d like to be seen and judged?
  3. Define and Live Your Unique Leadership Brand
    This is where the rubber meets the road and requires as objective a view of yourself as you can muster. Identify in your own terms what strengths you want to demonstrate to others and what areas you need to work on to meet your leadership goals.This is about knowing and authentically living your leadership brand. Your story influences how you show up.  Remember, as a leader, everything you do sends a message.  If you don’t tell your story, someone else will. Ideally your leadership brand is built upon your purpose and passion.A defined and well executed leadership brand broadens and deepens your influence and impact.

The Bottom Line
Self-awareness can help you and your team perform at your peak. When you see yourself clearly and live your authentic leadership brand, you can make better decisions, build more meaningful relationships, and lead your team more effectively.

To learn more about being an effective leader, download The Six Management Best Practices that Make the Difference Between Effective and Extraordinary

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