Leadership and Self Awareness - Again? Yes.
I was watching a documentary recently that said that we used to think that we were aware of 90% of what we did while the remaining 10% was running on automatic pilot. But now they are learning that it is just the opposite! We are conscious of 10% what we do and 90% is on automatic pilot. We don’t think much about it, we just do what we do without thinking.
That can be scary when it comes to leadership. What are we doing as a leader and we are not even thinking? How much of our behavior consists of things of which we are not even aware? When are we on automatic pilot? When does that work and when does it fail? Are we even listening to ourselves or do we even care?
No it isn’t just being aware of what we say, which is super important. Listening to ourselves involves so much more. What about our demeanor? How do we come off to people from our non-verbal signals like what we do or don’t do or tone of voice or the look we give? Are we even aware of the impact of those impressions? Do we know what drives our impulses? Do we know our own weaknesses? Furthermore, how much control do we have over ourselves?
It begins by listening to ourselves or the emotional intelligence of being self aware. That means seeing more and more of that 90% that we do or say automatically. But that is hard thing because we may not even know or see what we do, not to mention that we are often defensive or in denial about our shortcomings. Left to ourselves we may just be stuck at our current development as a leader, blissfully ignorant and maybe blaming others for what goes wrong or doesn’t go right.
So what can we do? Listening to self or being more self aware will mean seeing ourselves from another’s point of view. It may begin with some assessments, being vulnerable to a trusted colleague or friend or being serious enough to engage a coach. I knew I was in trouble when a close friend would wince when I said or did something that might not go over well. It was a great opportunity for learning. What did I say? What did I do? How did that come across? But that’s not what I meant! Too bad. How can you make the adjustment? How can you change? What will you do?
We can’t control other people’s thoughts or behavior or even perception of us. We can’t control other people at all! But we can control much more of ourselves than we think. We can monitor our posture, our demeanor, our tone, our words, our gestures. There is no reason why we should give people excuses or reasons to think the wrong things about us and our leadership. The only limitation is our own self-awareness. The way forward is through a willingness or humility to hear and digest feedback. Are you ready for that? Now what will you do about that?
Self-awareness is only the first part of Emotional Intelligence - more to come
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Scott Gress is called by Lutheran Counseling Services and partners with the FL-GA District of the Lutheran Church as an independent contractor. He specializes in Leadership Training, Consulting, Coaching and Coach Training. Contact Scott to continue the conversation or experience a free sample coaching session. 561-542-4472, firstname.lastname@example.org or scottgress.com
"Helping leaders be more productive - less controlling"