“Remember the Golden Rule? "Treat people as you would like to be treated." The best managers break the Golden Rule every day. They would say don't treat people as you would like to be treated. This presupposes that everyone breathes the same psychological oxygen as you.” - Marcus Buckingham
A key principle in all my work is that any great manager or leader starts with great self-awareness. A full understanding of strengths and weaknesses and how to play to them is essential for 5 key reasons.
If you're not sure who you are then you will be continually fishing for the real you. Others will experience you as a moving target and someone difficult to work with. When you're consistent you give others a chance to understand and manage you. They can feel more comfortable around you as the learn how to connect and communicate with you.
With greater self-awareness comes a greater awareness of your own values and beliefs and what makes you tick. This ultimately leads to authenticity and a focus on work that you find, not only rewarding, but something that you are authentically passionate about. This is where true charisma comes from.
When you understand your own uniqueness you can truly begin to appreciate difference from your own secure home base. Difference isn't threatening. It becomes a fascination and you can truly learn to use it for the benefit of all.
You're aware of when you are working in and out of your own preference and the implications. Self-understanding isn't an excuse for a certain behaviour or rigidity. It's the solid foundation from which you can stretch yourself and be aware of the healthy stress incurred and how to recover. Over time this brings greater resilience and an increasing ability to operate outside of your comfort zone.
Last but not least is the concept of being comfortably confident without any sign of arrogance. Accurate self-awareness brings an inner confidence that is secure and robust against challenge. You have nothing to prove and therefore do not feel under attack when challenged. Instead you are more able to maintain an open curiosity as to why someone else perceives something differently. And that in turn you are more able to update and refresh your sense of self rather than become entrenched and inflexible.
Of course, greater self-awareness is a never-ending journey and we can never completely know ourselves. There is no doubt in my mind though that any great manager or leader has above average self-understanding that gives all the benefits above.
What do you think? What have I missed? What else does greater self-awareness give you?
For more about the importance of self-awareness in any role transition see my free guide including self-assessment checklists here or click on the image below.