Know yourself to be an effective Leader

Do you think we ever truly know ourselves? As leaders and Managers, it is vital we understand our reactions and approaches to situations and people. In truly understanding ourselves we can then use our strengths to help others and continue to develop ourselves. Knowing our weaknesses means we can offset them and work to change our approach.

How many times have you witnessed a volatile leader and seen the devastation that then arises as a result? Or the leader who fails to deal with difficult situations that then makes the people around them feel frustrated.



Here are 5 tips to help:

1. Examine your life. Look at the lows and highs throughout. Explore your values and what motivates you. Truly understand your strengths and talents.  If you don’t understand how you feel and what you think then how can you help others?  It’s part of you growing as a person and a leader.  It’s also about leading yourself.  How can you lead others if you can’t lead yourself? Knowing what you believe in really makes the difference.  That was the game changer for me and why I set The People Mentor up as I wanted to help Employers create a kind, caring environment that inspires employees to work together, grow together and support each other, gaining better productivity and performance


2. Look at how you handle change situations when it is “done to you”. Understand your reactions and what your behaviour is. Then look at how your behaviour can make a huge difference to the people around you. Really work to understand what the triggers are and how you can help yourself through to taking a different, better approach. It took me ages to realise that leading change I was fine with but put me in a situation where I was a participant and there wasn’t clear information, then I would get stuck in the moment. I’ve had to acknowledge that and work to strengthen my ability to work in ambiguous situations.


3. Do you really understand your personality type? Are you driven by emotions or recognition?  Are you an introvert or an extrovert?  By understanding your personality, it can identify what you need to do to be successful.  There are a lot of personality tests but a free one that Janet Murray recently shared was which I’ve used several times and been really impressed with.   Do you always do things the same way?  Often within our personalities, we like consistency and reliability but sometimes doing something a different way can reawaken your creative streak, give you new insights and open up a whole new world.


4. Leaders understand their own emotions and those around them. This is key for effectiveness. As a leader, it helps you respond the right way. Once you understand yourself, you know the impact and accordingly adjust as needed. It helps you to inspire and motivate as a result. Self-awareness helps you be more creative and make sounder decisions. None of us are perfect and recently I recently had bad news that upset me. I felt this hugely bad temper descend and my nearest and dearest suffered for it. The unfortunate thing was we went to the bank and the poor girl who was dealing with our query started to get the bad mood outburst. I suddenly realised how I was inflicting my terrible mood onto her. Hesitantly I explained my story and by the end of the story, we were all laughing. I’m so glad I pulled myself up. And more to the point I appreciated the way the girl responded and lightened the atmosphere. And yes, I stopped inflicting the mood on my relatives!


5.  To be more self-aware you need to seek feedback. It needs to be genuine, honest feedback. A good way is through a 360 feedback which is anonymous and has set rules. The environment for genuine feedback needs to be safe. Informal chats can often give you insight. Friends and colleagues can often say things that make you stop and think. If you don’t agree with the feedback, ask for specific examples to understand better. Don’t immediately dismiss it, if it’s not what you want to hear. Analyse the feedback and explore are there more examples that give support to the feedback. Is there a nugget of useful information there that could make you develop? It’s not about pulling you down. Feedback can be often a recognition of contributions you have made and how you handled it. Acknowledge and record the positive affirmations into a journal so when you are having a bad day you can read them.

Have you any other tips to share on helping to understand yourself better?


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