For Better Self-Awareness, Check Your Assumptions

by Betina Schonberger

For many leaders, developing self-awareness is one of their toughest challenges. We all have blind spots, so the question is: How can we identify them and become more self-aware around them? At IA, we point to The Model of the Facilitative Leader™ (see below). The defining characteristics of the Facilitative Leader are being strategic, receptive and flexible, and collaborative.

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                   The Model of the Facilitative Leader™

Strategically Develop Self-Awareness

How can self-awareness be developed from a strategic point of view? The leader may examine circumstances under which her actions produce unintended consequences. These are likely to indicate a blind spot that’s interfering with taking the best courses of action. The leader can then analyze the unintended consequences for clues to her underlying actions and beliefs, leading to expanded self-awareness. This kind of “detective work” often yields great results.

Collaboratively Develop Self-Awareness

At any spot in the leadership journey, the leader can collaborate with others to gain greater self-awareness. This means demonstrating a willingness to seek feedback – and to demonstrate being open and receptive to it. The following three behaviors can be deployed consciously to increase one’s self-awareness:

  • Seek feedback.
  • Practice inquiry.
  • Challenge personal assumptions by seeking other perspectives. After all, there is generally a kernel of truth in what others observe.

As my colleague Beth Yates likes to say, “Not all of us are ‘burdened with’ self-awareness.” We are on a lifelong journey to self-mastery. That’s why we need an initial inkling that all is not quite right, we need the humility to admit our imperfections, and we need to dig to get the results we want.

The good news is that a growth in self-awareness can be exponential! One + one can equal three … when we not only practice but encourage these behaviors in others.

Tags : self awareness authentic leadership collaborative leadership leadership. leadership development

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