Self-awareness is a crucial component of inner leadership – but why is it so important? And how does it support inner leadership practices? Let’s take a closer look.
First, let’s define what we mean by inner leadership and self-awareness. Inner leadership is a holistic approach to leadership that emphasizes self-awareness, self-activation. It’s about understanding your own values, strengths, and weaknesses, and using this self-activation to guide your actions and decisions. Self-awareness, in this definition refers to the ability to recognize and understand your own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors and choose a response, instead of reacting.
It’s about being aware of your own biases, assumptions, and limitations, and using this awareness to make better decisions and take more effective and conscious actions.
How does self-awareness connect to leadership?
Here are a few key ways:
- Self-awareness helps you understand your own thought patterns and reactions. In a way it just makes it easier and clearer to decide upon a direction for yourself. One of the biggest changes between individual contributors, management and leadership is that leadership is required to set direction, where the prior two are about doing what others ask you to do (on a smaller or larger scale and on your own or with your team). In a typical career this is not what you have focused on to get to a leadership position and thus this self-awareness suddenly becomes of prime importance.
- Self-awareness also helps you build strong, positive relationships: Inner leadership as a whole is about building strong, positive relationships with others – to do so, you need to be able to recognize what in a relationship is about you, and what is about the other party(s). Also, you’ll find that the more aware you are of your own thoughts, emotions, and actions the easier it becomes to recognize patterns in those around you (which is also supported by research). Thus it allows you to be more present and attuned to the needs of others. It helps you communicate more effectively, and it allows you to build more authentic relationships that go beyond the hierarchical role you might have with others.
In short, self-awareness is a crucial component of inner leadership. It supports self-activation through decision- making, and relationship building, and it allows you to take a more holistic and balanced approach to personal and professional growth. So, if you’re looking to improve your inner leadership skills, consider focusing on developing your self-awareness.
Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness is a powerful tool for developing self-awareness. It helps you bring your attention to the present moment, and it allows you to observe your thoughts and feelings without judgment. There are many ways to practice mindfulness, including through meditation, yoga, or simply paying attention to your breath or your surroundings. Try incorporating mindfulness into your daily routine and see how it helps you develop self-awareness and inner leadership skills.
- Seek feedback: Another way to develop self-awareness is to seek feedback from others. This could be through a formal feedback process at work, or through more informal conversations with friends, family, or colleagues. Ask for feedback on your strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement, and be open to hearing what others have to say. Remember, feedback is a gift – it’s an opportunity to learn and grow, and it can help you develop self-awareness and inner leadership skills.
- Reflect on your experiences: Another way to develop self-awareness is to take time to reflect on your experiences. This could be through journaling, or simply taking a few minutes each day to think about your thoughts, feelings, and actions. Reflecting on your experiences can help you understand your own thought patterns and reactions, and it can help you identify areas for improvement and personal growth.
In conclusion, self-awareness is a crucial component of inner leadership. So, if you’re looking to improve your inner leadership skills, consider focusing on developing your self-awareness. Practice mindfulness, seek feedback, and reflect on your experiences – these are all powerful tools for developing self-awareness and inner leadership skills. So, the connection between inner leadership and self-awareness is crucial for personal and professional growth.