Stories told from Leaders in our life allow us to experience through them. Learning from these experiences help us to gain a guidepost from where we can reflect on our own leadership. We can discover what others do that make them successful, or not. Then explore what we already do, and what we’d like to improve. Self-reflection leads to Knowing Yourself.
Knowing yourself is the first building block of a great leader.
As Dan Goleman has been teaching for years, self-awareness – focusing on understanding your emotional state, your triggers & motivators – is the foundation for an emotionally intelligent leader. Tall Poppies takes that concept further.
When was the last time you took a moment to explore your own strengths, stories, mishaps, or opportunities? Below, we’ll share two client stories from real-life leaders over the last 20-years.
We were recently coaching a leader who felt he was doing great. This leader knew his business – a technical expert with ability to structure work, meetings, cadences, etc. However, when it came to his communication, motivation, and connection with his team and employees, he fell short.
This leader was a victim of “expertness.” While a seldom used word, chances are it resonates with you. Either you are the expert leader or have been led by someone like this. You have felt the impact that this behaviour has on you and those around you. Likely not what was intended.
You may look up to this person and their abilities. But when it comes to being motivated and inspired, this leader falls short by a number of measures.
Take a similar leader. An expert in her field, that quickly succeeds through the ranks, and now leads a team of hundreds. She was also an expert – with the likelihood of succumbing to her “expertness.” However, when she reached a senior level – a leader of leaders – she quickly realised her expertise wasn’t going to get her far.
Now she needed to lead a diverse team – multiple business units, separate agendas, with a common purpose – to move the needle forward.
She took the time to reflect on herself. An easy strength to identify was her technical expertise. Her blind spot was the way her town halls were delivered. She worked with us to build a delivery method that would enlist engagement from her team. To gain ideas, thoughts, feedback, buy-in – instead of simply telling them “stuff”.
The coaching and reflection process she went through enabled the change she needed to succeed. Engagement numbers grew, performance exceeded expectations, and happiness thrived within her team.
“Growth through Knowing”
The real-life examples from these two leaders are likely similar to a leader you know (or are!). As you may be able to imply from above, knowing yourself will provide a foundation for your journey to being a great leader.
It’s never too late to change. Take the time to know yourself. By understanding your superpowers, your values, your motivators, you will ignite intentionality to your days – and realise the impact you can achieve!
Below are some first steps you can take in your journey to truly knowing yourself.
- Complete this quick tool to evaluate your level of Emotional Intelligence: https://www.mindtools.com/axbwm3m/how-emotionally-intelligent-are-you
- 360 – have conversations with people in your world: A boss, peer, family member, friend.
- Ask: What are two things that you appreciate about me? Do you have an example? Why do you appreciate this?
- Ask: What are two things that I could do differently? Why is that important? How could I do this?
- Inquire: Is there anything else you could share to help me know myself better?
- Seek a learning partner and bring them along your journey
- Connect with us to explore Executive Coaching, Leadership Development or to attend our Virtual Lab – Knowing Yourself: https://tallpoppies.us/leaders/virtual-bite-sized-learning/
In our coming blogs and videos we will explore trusting and being yourself – and how combining the three will make you the confident leader you know you can become. Stand Tall!