People frequently ask me to give them examples of self-aware leadership. A good way to demonstrate the difference between leaders who possess self-awareness and those who don't is to describe how they behave during a training session. Imagine someone who behaves this way:
- Doesn't listen.
- Gets angry.
- Talks too long.
- Tells others what to do.
- Has an opinion on everything.
- Seeks attention.
When someone practices these behaviors in a training setting you can pretty much guarantee what they're like in the workplace. They likely are people who don't listen, interrupt others, get angry, confront people, talk too long, tell others what to do etc. Very often these individuals don't realize how they're behaving because they're so used to doing things a certain way.
This is why I emphasize self-awareness in my training programs. It's the ability to take a look at your own behaviors so that you can keep what works well and modify what doesn't. It's the capacity to examine who you are and behave in different ways. It means that you understand how your behaviors affect both you and other people. The goal of self-awareness is to become a more effective person and leader. Effective leaders practice the following behaviors the majority of the time:
- Don't Interrupt.
- Moderate emotions.
- Communicate instead of confront.
- Listen more than they talk.
- Encourage people to work independently.
- Value other people's opinions.
- Give people attention.
- Cooperate and collaborate with others.
Leadership is often about consciously setting an example of positive behaviors in the workplace. A leader who behaves based on the first list will get predictable results in the form of a dysfunctional workplace while one who practices the behaviors on the second list will move in a more productive direction. There's no mystery to this process, positive behaviors lead to positive results. What do your behaviors say about you?