We often define leadership as the ability to create transformations in people and groups. An effective leader inspires others with a vision of how they can be, and they motivate and engage their executive team to follow a shared vision. Leaders coach both individuals and teams towards a luminous future.
Still, you need many skills to become an effective leader. How do you decide which skills you should master? One way to resolve the confusion that comes from trying to master everything at once is to focus on one key skill, a meta-skill, a skill that will nurture other skills.
That primary skill is self-awareness and should rank at the top of your list of skills to master. You can’t have empathy for others unless you understand your own emotions. You can’t understand other people’s personalities until you understand your own.
And you can’t estimate other people’s strengths and weaknesses unless you recognize your own strong and weak points. When you have plenty of self-awareness, you intuitively understand how to engage your employees and talk to your clients. Fortunately, self-awareness is a learnable skill. Here are 3 ways to increase your own self-awareness so you can become a much more effective leader.
Be curious and learn more: There are many things you need to learn about others and your business to be an effective manager or CEO, but you will only have the desire to learn if you are a curious person. Without curiosity, you will just be going through the motions of asking questions, but you won’t learn from the answers you receive.
Naturally you won’t learn much about other people unless you’re curious about your own life. Many business leaders, celebrities, and actors are so curious about their own background, they even try DNA testing to learn more about themselves. After Oprah Winfrey, for example, took an ancestry DNA test, it helped her engage with her international television audience even better.
Ask good questions: When you ask yourself questions, you learn more about yourself. Similarly, when you ask other people about themselves, you learn more about them. It doesn’t stop there. You can also ask questions about your organization. What are its goals and how well is it doing in its efforts to reach them? Asking good questions could change your life.
Master your emotions: As a leader, you quickly realize other people are watching everything you say and do. They are watching how you react to a big win and how you respond to unexpected setbacks. Essentially, they are trying to assess your level of emotional maturity.
If you don’t know how to control your emotions, impulsively losing your temper, feeling anxious, or getting depressed, then they will be less willing to follow your lead. Conversely, if you can exhibit grace under pressure and stay calm while others are panicking, you will quickly, easily, and effortlessly win their admiration and respect.
Naturally, you need plenty of self-awareness before you can even hope to master your emotions. You can be an effective leader by learning more about yourself, other people, and your organization; by asking the right questions; and by mastering your emotions.
Gaining all these critical leadership skills come from increasing your self-awareness. Without sufficient self-awareness, you won’t know how to cultivate these skills. By practicing these three basic skills, you can lead your executive team and business to new heights of success.
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