The short answer is, “if you’re self-aware, you probably are.”

“According to a large body of recent leadership research, self-awareness is one of the key capabilities that under-pins managerial effectiveness and leadership success. Having a high level of self-awareness is one of the strongest predictors of overall leadership success.” J.P. Flau. And, according to Psychology Today, being self-aware fine-tunes one’s understanding of the perspectives, values, aims and personality traits of others.

Why is self-awareness such a big deal?

Leadership is about one’s ability to influence others and to leverage that influence in a way that not only gets things done; it also validates everyone’s contribution. Leadership and influence require astuteness about others: their emotional and strategic personal drivers; their self-interest, overt and covert. These relationship competencies rest on a foundation of self-knowledge, self-awareness. And you can’t know the truth about another without knowing it about yourself.

Getting to Know Yourself

There are countless blogs, articles and websites about the traits of a good leader. However, these resources fail to take into account the fact that our strengths, preferences and behaviours change on our challenging days – when we are stressed and overextended; when the pressures of time or lack of resources or disappointment or life’s stresses turn those good traits into “too much of a good thing.”

A Tool Like No Other

In my work with leaders, I use the Lumina Leader model. This model looks at four domains of leadership: Leading with Vision, Leading with Drive, Leading to Deliver and Leading through People. It produces a Leader Profile of you on a “good” and on a day when you are stressed/overextended.

Understanding where your strengths and leadership choices are within these domains and being able to recognize and modify the behaviours you tend to choose when you are stressed, are central to becoming an effective, agile leader. Lumina measures 24 personality qualities directly and is unique amongst psychometric tools because it avoids stereotyping and labelling.

The Four Leadership Domains

Leading with Vision for the everyday leader means thinking strategically and inspiring and energizing the team to achieve the vision. The overextended leader, however, may get too caught up in the vision: a whirlwind of creative ideas lacking an implementation plan.

Do you spend time developing a clear picture of your vision in order to bring it to life? That is Leading with Vision

Leading with Drive for the everyday leader is about pushing things forward, influencing others and delegating effectively. For the overextended leader, the positive qualities of Leading with Drive can transform into a disregard for others as the leader becomes too direct when delegating and pushes inappropriately hard.

Do you tend to push the status quo and push for change in order to improve processes? That is Leading with Drive.

Leading to Deliver for the everyday leader involves thorough planning and analysis. A leader strong in this domain who is under pressure may exhibit analysis paralysis and/or become planning obsessed.

Do you create and execute plans that integrate long and short-term goals? That is leading to Deliver.

Leading through People for the everyday leader means that they have good interpersonal skills, coach and develop others, and utilize their team’s strength in a collaborative and effective fashion. These interpersonal skills, when overextended, may turn the overextended leader into a people pleaser, cancelling out his or her effectiveness as a leader and limiting what actually gets done.

Do you trust others, avoid over-controlling them and give them opportunities to develop? That is Leading through People.

No Single Leadership Domain is better than any other!

Since Leadership is situational, in order to be a successful leader, it is important that you are agile and can embrace each of these Leadership domains depending upon the situation and what the people you lead need.

This in and of itself demands self and other awareness. And it is so important to understand how your leadership choices and your strengths morph when you and/or your team are stressed.

The takeaway: intentional self-awareness.

Becoming aware of your own triggers that stress you and drive you into overextension as well as knowing which strengths you can use that will bring you back to your best self is invaluable.

Successful leadership requires this same astuteness about others. And, according to Douglas LaBier, PhD, “you can’t know the truth about another without knowing it about yourself.”

“Knowing others is wisdom, knowing yourself is Enlightenment.” – Lao Tzu

Are you leveraging your self-awareness? Is your team leveraging theirs?

Let Carol Henry Coaching help you and your team develop the awareness needed to collaborate and communicate in a way that has you accomplishing the goals you set out to accomplish.

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