A bit late in honoring David Bowie, but the title seemed appropriate this morning. Today I was catching up on an article by Bob Caporale in the AMA Playbook titled How Leaders Can Master Self-Awareness. Like the author, I too enjoy reading anything pertaining to leadership … so I can relate to his comment about attempting to encapsulate that magical set of skills, competencies, and behaviors that I can adopt into my psyche to make me a better leader.
He presents just such a list a bit further down in the article, followed by a corresponding list describing characteristics of leadership most of us would not seek to emulate.
Self-awareness is an interesting topic … and one I haven’t dug too deeply into yet so I thought it would be fun to explore. Let’s start with a good description of what it is. I found the definition on Dictionary.com somewhat lacking …the state or condition of being aware; having knowledge; consciousness … so let’s use a few good quotes to hit the point:
Every human has 4 endowments – self-awareness, conscience, independent will and creative imagination. These give us the ultimate human freedom … the power to chose, to respond, and to change. – Stephen Covey
Knowing yourself is the beginning of wisdom – Aristotle
Being self-aware is not the absence of mistakes, but the ability to learn and correct them. – Daniel Chidiac
Being self-aware is not about identifying all of your faults but about understanding your motivators, your impact, what you do well and where you struggle.
All of these have a consistent theme … change. Identifying where we are strong, and learning to change where we aren’t. I’ve known some talented individuals over the years who are capable, but who shoot themselves in the foot … or get in their own way … or cause themselves to stumble … whatever the cliche is you want to use. They lacked self-awareness.
Having the willingness to see yourself through others’ eyes and how others might perceive your own leadership style is something I captured in my post Leadership with Atitude. I’d encourage you to consider so of the thoughts captured there.
So to close, I wholeheartedly agree with a thought Bob Caporale used in his article … how can you expect to be a successful product manager, strategist, or marketer if you are not also, at least to some extent, a good leader? [or to be more succinct, if you are not also self-aware]!
So I turned myself to face me …. Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes (Turn and face the strange)