Leading others requires leading yourself. And leading yourself begins by knowing yourself. True leadership can happen only as we allow our own authenticity to show through. Our authenticity is at the core of our strength as a leader. Knowing ourselves makes it possible for that authenticity to take shape.
Here are three questions to consider.
1. Do you know what VALUES are most important to you, as a leader and as an individual?
2. How would you describe your working STYLE? How would others describe your STYLE?
3. What would you say are your top STRENGTHS? What are the talents, qualities, or gifts that you posses that most enable you to lead?
Answering these questions gets you closer to knowing yourself.
Let’s take a look at The Johari window. The Johari Window is a model that was first introduced way back in 1955. It will help us to see why knowing ourselves is so important. You’ll notice that The Johari Window is broken into four quadrants:
- Public Arena. This includes those things that we know about ourselves and that others know about us.
- Blind Spot. Those things that others know about us, but we don’t know about ourselves.
- Façade or Private Arena. Those things that we know about ourselves, but others don’t know about us.
- Unknown to All. Those things that we don’t know about ourselves and others don’t know either.
The key is to expand our Public Arena by sharing more of ourselves with others and, at the same time, learning more about ourselves.
Here are some simple steps to take to gain a closer look at yourself by looking at your personal values, your own working style, and your unique leadership strengths. As you look at yourself, as you strive to know yourself better, consider these three steps. Each step should help you gain a deeper understanding of who you really are.
Step 1: Assess.
Take the time to assess your values, style, and strengths. This might involve taking surveys and completing inventories on yourself. It may also involve asking others for feedback. There are a myriad of tools and instruments available to help you assess yourself. No single one is a silver bullet. Take several. Use them as tools to understand yourself better, but not as the final word as to who you are. If you would like, contact us and we will provide you with meaningful assessment tools.
Step 2: Discuss.
This step involves actually sitting down and discussing yourself with those in your life that know you well. This is not always an easy thing to do. It takes time. It also takes a certain level of trust. The discussion however can give you invaluable information about yourself. The key is to identify a few trusted associates, who care about your success. Then put some trust in them and allow them to help you gain a better picture of you. Thank them for the gift of feedback that they are giving you. Then do something meaningful with that feedback.
Step 3: Reflect.
Reflect on your life’s experiences. Our experiences are great teachers. They can tell us a great deal about ourselves if we will allow them to. Every day we are presented with new challenges and situations. Most of us have experienced significant successes and failures. Each of these experiences gives us an opportunity to learn more about who we are, what we can do, where we are comfortable, and where we are not. If we will make the effort to learn from them, we will know ourselves at a much deeper level.
As we develop the discipline to look at ourselves and to coach ourselves, we should ask ourselves three key questions:
• What can I learn from that experience?
• What did I do well in that experience?
• What should I do differently next time?
These three steps will be helpful to keep in mind as you look at your values, your working style, and your strengths. Knowing your values, working style, and strengths will not give you everything you need to know about yourself; but it is a great place to start.
Hopefully, they will become second nature as you continually grow as leader.