Why Good Leadership Starts with Self-Awareness

Can self-awareness bring about good leadership? The answer lies in our own ‘Four Pillars of Self-Awareness’. True self-awareness can only be possible through a combination of optimism, humility, gratitude, and forgiveness. It’s certainly no coincidence that these are also the foundational qualities that good leaders are made of. While an average boss or manager requires only the ability to give orders and assess outcomes, good leadership entails actual self-awareness and reflection.

There’s no way to become a good leader without being fully aware of how your actions and personality affects others. Although you can be self-aware without necessarily being a good leader, you can’t be a leader without a significant degree of self-awareness. In the book Leading With Intention by Mindy Hall, the author shares her insight on the matter, which is informed by years of observing business leaders via her presidency at Peak Development Consulting. Hall doesn’t mince her words by telling leaders that they are the pivotal element in every interaction. Leaders are able to shape outcomes just by tailoring their words, actions, and even their appearance. “You must, therefore, begin to see yourself as the primary tool for achieving high-level results, as opposed to elements outside of you – such as business models, organizational structure, other people, or circumstances.” A leader who is self-aware is a leader who is fully aware of their impact on their organization.

This underscores the role of the leader as a tool for collaboration, which is particularly crucial in today’s increasingly tech-dependent world. Due to the rapid development of work processes in modern business, there is an increasing need for collaborative leadership within organizations. In fact, information on organization leadership listed on Maryville University, describes a growing demand for specialists who can foster organizational change. This demand mainly stems from the increasingly tech-driven methods and structures employed by today’s industries. As social media, e-learning, e-commerce, and remote workplaces become increasingly normal in business, today’s leaders need to be able to foster collaboration between employees with different levels of tech literacy. To be a good leader in modern business means being able to bridge these tech/communication gaps between people of different ages, backgrounds and expertise. The key to doing this is the ability to foster effective and long-term collaboration between people – the keys to which are the four pillars of self-awareness. Here on Self Aware 101 we can assure aspiring leaders that optimism, humility, gratitude, and forgiveness are what they need to enhance their personal and professional fulfillment. The consistent pursuit of self-awareness can greatly increase a leader’s ability to influence an organization towards positive outcomes.

We are certainly not alone in thinking that these factors and characteristics are essential to good leadership. In an academic assignment published by The International Journal of Management Education, Florida Gulf Coast University professor Arthur Rubens pushes students to reflect on their own identities, as they undergo the training required to become effective organizational leaders. The assignment requires students to conduct an industry/job analysis, as well as to explore, observe, and record the development of their own leadership skills. Ultimately, Rubens explains that the goal is for students to be able to develop a strategic plan designed for maximizing their own leadership capabilities. It’s basically a leadership-focused course on self-awareness, with post-class assessments revealing that students see the course as “one of the most important outcomes in their MBA experience.”

There are no shortcuts to good leadership – just long, arduous paths of self-discovery. It can be hard to be optimistic when faced with outstanding odds, harder yet to be humble when the odds are in your favor. However, by consistently pursuing these four pillars/values, you can eventually become the great leader that you were meant to be.


Exclusively written for SelfAware101.com

By: Zoe Phoebe

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