We hear a lot about the need to increase our self-awareness, being emotionally intelligent, playing to our strengths and understanding our weaknesses, etc. But why? Many of us will be comfortable with how we interact with others, putting it down to our natural preferences…it’s ‘just the way we are‘.
In a world where we communicate via multiple channels, we can no longer rely solely on our face-to-face interactions to build the effective and robust relationships we may require to be successful. We are faced with many and different challenges on a daily basis, therefore we need to be able to flex our style accordingly. We all have natural tendencies that we must ‘work on’ to avoid potential limitations as a leader. Some we are very aware of, and therefore they can be easily reviewed, others we are not aware of and require further investigation, with help from others – an external view. This is where we need to reach out to understand how we are perceived by others who we work or interact with.
So where do we start? Where do you go to delve deep into the external view of you?
One of your first steps is to ask for some feedback. Asking for feedback requires that you are open to all types of feedback…the good and the bad! A 360 assessment tool, is an excellent place to start. Ask open/honest questions. Incorporate things like ‘how could I better support you in your role?’ This will emphasise that you open to developing. Honest feedback comes with significant outcomes, even though it can sometimes be challenging to receive. Take time to listen to the feedback you receive, allow yourself the opportunity to absorb it properly. To grow, we need to look at ourselves as objectively as we can. Maybe you can analyse a past situation to help contextualise the feedback you have received? How did you behave? What did you do well? What would you change and do differently? For example, your approach, your tone, the result or outcome…take notes on this and think about if the feedback is fair and accurate, then what changes you can implement for the future.
Learning and development are crucial for making changes and stretching yourself. Self-awareness is an ongoing process which will not be mastered by any one-off assessment, it takes continued self-reflection, over an extended period of time. You are a constant work in progress… remember that!