Self-Awareness – An asset for Leaders

Authentic Leadership

“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”– C.G. Jung

Self Awareness brings in authenticity that helps build robust leadership qualities in a leader. Leaders before leading their team have to lead themselves with self- awareness as it impacts their leadership skills and ultimately their influence on their team. To look into themselves deeply and their thoughts and beliefs, purpose and values, passion and motivation, identities and lived experiences, mindset and past triggers and it’s impact on their own life and on others in all ways through self reflections give an insight about their real selves.

Reflections and Realisations

Self awareness is realisation that pinpoints towards one’s limiting beliefs, perceptions actions, reactions and patterns in one’s behaviour that lowers effectiveness; to take an observer’s position to see one’s life is the best way to derive more choices and ways to deal with issues and challenges being faced personally and professionally.

Emotional state and High- Performance Unlike the actors in a play or sportsmen there is no rehearsal or practice before playing and so for a leader it’s all about being on the real stage for high performance action. Clearly a leader’s emotional state is also connected to his or her prowess as a leader especially in a high- stress situation. The control the leaders have on their mental state through awareness can alter their emotions and increase Emotional Intelligence, one of the most important factors for successful leadership.

“Self-awareness gives you the capacity to learn from your mistakes as well as your successes. It enables you to keep growing.” – Lawrence Bossidy

The practice of self awareness is most useful to be able to calmly and confidently deal with the challenges and also for experimenting, improvising and adapting to deal with challenging situations in all walks of life.

Conscious and Subconscious cognisance for Leaders

To be able to dive into one’s subconscious through self reflection; to be curious and not fixed and judgemental about oneself and others, ready to acknowledge the flaws and emotional blockages that stop from achieving the objectives helps leaders to take wise decisions for coming a full circle in not only achieving goals and driving results but also building and influencing teams positively for effective and productive functioning of the organisation. The speed of the leader is the speed of the team and so a self- aware leader also promotes self-awareness in the team for enhancing their work performance.

“Self awareness is our capacity to stand apart from ourselves and examine our thinking, our motives, our history, our scripts, our actions, and our habits and tendencies.”– Stephen Covey

Cultivating Self-awareness

Self awareness is an on-going journey and it’s the responsibility of leader to go on it for a continuous reflection of where one is and where one wants to be in terms of being a leader. This cultivation of self awareness help cut through the auto-pilot existence and opens new dimensions to concrete living.

Coaching, Mentoring and experiential group learnings tremendously help in building self awareness and brings out actions for peak performance.

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”– John Quincy Adams

Benefits of Mindfulness

Mindfulness is one of the self awareness practices that can help leaders reduce stress and enhance their health and well-being. It also helps brings in more focus to one’s thoughts, feelings, behaviour and actions, attentiveness to the moment by being mindfully present. This opens up their ability to truly listen to others and communicate without judgement. 

“Leaders who are mindful tend to be more effective in understanding and relating to others and in motivating them toward shared goals. Hence, they become more effective in leadership roles.”–William George

Initiating Mindfulness 

1. A simple way to start is to sit in a quiet place and relax yourself

2. Pay attention to your breath as you inhale and exhale.

3. Pay attention to your abdomen rising as you breath in and falling as you breathe out.

4. If you lose focus and your mind wanders, intentionally and non-judgmentally bring your attention back to your breathing.

5.You can count your breath from one to five and do twenty cycles. Increase it to five minutes and then subsequently to 20 minutes. 

Mindfulness means being awake. It means knowing what you are doing.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn

Through awareness and attention and redirection of the mind you can benefit from a daily practice of mindfulness.

Mindfulness isn’t difficult, we just need to remember to do it.” – Sharon Salzberg

Nilima Narang

Leadership Coach

Co-founder Success Anchors

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