“Self-awareness gives you the capacity to learn from
your mistakes as well as your successes. It enables you
to keep growing.” – Lawrence Bossidy, former CEO of
Allied Signal and General Electric Credit Corporation
If you want to emerge as a leader with the ability to inspire, influence, and enable others to achieve a common goal, you must start with yourself.
Self-awareness is essential to recognizing your leadership strengths and needs, as well as understanding how to leverage those strengths to help convert your needs into future assets. The process can be challenging, but it can also be transformational.
Our clients have successfully increased their self-awareness by learning about the factors that support strong leadership. These include perceptual factors, both how you see yourself and how others view you; cognitive factors, such as how well you listen and respond to others; behavioral factors, which are related to things like how clearly you speak, your civility, and whether or not you are persuasive; and emotional factors, such as your capacity for authenticity and patience, and the confidence that helps you make decisions. Gaining an understanding of which of the aforementioned factors you currently possess and those you need to improve on can have a profound impact on your role as a leader.
Some of the factors present themselves as external characteristics, but all of the factors are driven by what’s going on inside. Investing in the time and putting forth the effort to developing these self-awareness factors increases your ability to authentically communicate and connect with others, which helps build trust, creates more positive relationships, and elevates your leadership presence.
When people hear the phrase “leadership presence,” some may immediately think of it solely as an outward presence. Some may even scoff at the idea of self-managing how they are perceived by others—as if committing to this work is akin to simply learning what others’ expectations are and making superficial external adjustments to fit those expectations.
Nothing could be further from effectively working to strengthen your leadership presence. Whether you like it or not, every word you type and sentence you speak, every expression you make and position you take, every value you convey and physical or emotional gesture you communicate creates an impression. Those impressions, whether made on those who already know you or those you are just meeting, shape how you are perceived and drive your ability to develop and manage relationships and, ultimately, achieve your objectives.
Leadership requires more than just knowledge and skills—it is driven by an understanding of how those qualities are communicated to and perceived by others. That understanding begins with working on your inner-self in order to positively impact the people and organizations you need to influence so you can create, collaborate, and innovate to drive success.
Senior Consultant, The Kaufman Partnership, LTD
Strengthening Leadership and Relationships