It is very critical that leaders have a level of self-awareness. They must know themselves before they can effectively manage themselves and lead others.
It is very easy to point fingers at others when they make mistakes in their operations; however, self-critiquing is much more difficult.
Many in leadership have a weakness in this area. Effective leaders understand the importance of knowing themselves and make a deliberate effort to better understand their emotions and actions.
The motto “know thyself” has been repeated over millennia, and the importance of those words has also been emphasized constantly. However, many leaders have failed to really get to know themselves. They simply think of themselves as the greatest thing since sliced bread who lead in all areas. The truth is that no leader is perfect. There is always room for improvement. This is why leaders must take an inventory of their emotions and mental processes. It seems that the easiest thing to do is to continue operating as normal until something drastic happens, and then, the leader has no choice but to stop and look inward. This is not the most effective way to operate as a leader.
Establishing a deliberate process to look inward on a routine basis is key to developing as a pinnacle leader. It is worth mentioning that the leader should place this time in their schedule to ensure they properly plan to remove distractions from their environment and have appropriate private time to reflect. Prior to reflection, the leader might seek to garner feedback from trusted peers or even subordinates in order to gain a comprehensive understanding of how they are being perceived.
There are some very effective leaders who take time out at the end of their day to sit in solitude in an isolated place to reflect. There are others who go into nature to reflect on how to go inward. It does not matter which course a leader takes as long as it allows for self-examination. In today’s fast-paced society, many leaders say they do not have the time to seek introspection; however, the truth of the matter is that they do not have time not to seek introspection. There are many complexities in the workplace that leaders must be primed to deal with a daily basis.
When the leader looks inward, they are able to identify their strengths and weaknesses along with potential actions they might take to improve their leadership capability. An example would be a leader who recognizes that they take all actions when it comes to fulfilling daily tasks. At the end of a period of time of self-reflection, they might conclude that it is essential to start delegating tasks that could be done just as well by others. The leader might also conclude that they need to better prioritize their day. It is critical for the leader to always work in their strength zone.