Self-awareness is a key component of effective leadership. It’s difficult to modify our behavior and its effect on others, if we fail to objectively make observations about how we react in challenging situations. Improving our ability to recognize our emotional reactions in real time allows us to then make a rational plan going forward.
All efforts of looking inward to understand ourselves well is a positive step. There are, however, some self-awareness strategies that are more effective than others. As Tasha Eurich, author of the book Insight: Why We’re Not as Self-Aware as We Think and How Seeing Ourselves Clearly Helps Us Succeed at Work and in Life,points out that introspection and insight are two different avenues of self-awareness that can create very different results.
You just never know when the next curveball is coming your way. Life is full of inconsistencies, ups and downs, and unexpected events that can shake a person to the core. It happens in business; it happens in our personal lives and it happens to us all.
Recognizing you’re not alone when life tests your emotional resolve is a good starting point for developing resiliency. History is full of stories about people who have overcome unthinkable circumstances. Also, there are the people we know personally, our co-workers, neighbors, friends and family members who have endured the unexpected and have carried on. There are models of resiliency all around us that we can look to for inspiration.
In one of our recent blogs, Choosing Optimism, I cited a statistic from Forbes Magazine that stated 79% of employees leave their jobs due to a perceived lack of appreciation. Survey findings on this topic vary and many used similar terms like “unnoticed “or “ignored.” The overwhelming trend that employees want to feel valued at work suggest that further scrutiny of this topic is warranted.
All work places have a hierarchy for job positions. The opportunities for advancement are limited, so the promise of a promotion or a pay raise as an inspirational tool, is in many cases, unrealistic. So how do we help our employees feel valued?
“The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds; and the pessimist fears this is true.” ― James Branch Cabell
Training ourselves to view challenges and difficult work scenarios through the lens of optimism reduces stress and contributes to a more productive, problem-solving environment. Employees who approach work through an optimistic point of view are usually the ones who exceed expectations and enjoy a more rewarding work experience.
Relationships rely on integrity. We trust stores will give us a fair price. We presume distributors will represent us fairly in the marketplace. We expect healthcare providers to make decisions in our best interest. Especially in the legal realm, we count on Judges to use good judgement.
It’s no different inside our companies. Employees expect to be treated fairly. We trust our coworkers to be honest in their communications with us. We want and expect a “what you see is what you get” environment. And when this environment is achieved, productivity increases, and turnover is reduced.
I listened to a Ted Talk with speaker David Brooks who introduced the virtues of our two selves represented by our resume and our eulogy.
You can visual these two parts of ourselves first by the way we draft our resume, usually during a time of transition. We summarize the value of our education and work history. We list our core skills and any accolades we have earned along the way. We hope those who read our resume will also see growth, vision, and a continued pattern of improvement. We’ll refer to these characteristics as our outward selves.
What is your leadership style? Whether you are the CEO or you manage a team of 2, you have a style. Do you tell everyone exactly what you expect and how to get it done or do you ask for input on the outcome of a project? Are you disappointed when a project is late but can't tell where it went off the rails? Or are you involved in every step of each team members process? Or are you somewhere in between?
Since it’s highly unlikely that you’re joining a monastery or moving to a beautiful island in the South Pacific, here are 6 PRACTICAL TIPS to manage your own stress, create calm and be that person who seems totally at peace even when the office brat is yelling (again).
This is life, this the long game. Consider yourself a lifelong learner and then make a commitment to seeing where your path might take you with the smallest investment of time and attention on your single greatest asset… your self.