How do you know you are being a good leader? What are the most important traits you need to have to be a good leader? Is there one characteristic that is more important than any other? Some believe it is being a good motivator while others say it’s having integrity. According to psychologist and author Sherrie Campbell it is self-awareness.

Self-awareness is the ability to monitor one’s own emotions and reactions.

“Self awareness keeps us grounded, attuned and focused,” said Campbell, author of “Loving Yourself: The Master of Being Your Own Person” (AuthorHouse, 2012). “When leaders are grounded, they are able to be efficient and deliberate in staying on task, and being attuned to those around them. Leaders who have the ability to control their minds and emotions help to guide those around them to develop their own self-knowledge and success.”

It can be difficult to master the skill of becoming aware of oneself but it can be done.

  1. Learn to be mindful of your own weaknesses and strengths. Self-aware leaders are mindful of what they can and can’t do.
  2. A mindful leader has strong boundaries in place. It’s fine to be friendly to others but you need to say no when you have to.
  3. Figure out what your emotional triggers are. Self-aware leaders can immediately identify their emotions. You don’t want to limit your emotions or even deny what is causing them. Instead you need to be able to be flexible with them and process them before you communicate with others.
  4. Self-aware leaders embrace their intuition. They trust their gut instinct and are willing to take any risks associated with following them. Instincts come from our need to succeed and the survival of the fittest. Your gut instincts tell you what you should do next. Go ahead and trust them.
  5. When you are self-aware, you are disciplined in every area of your life. Practice self-discipline to help you stay focused as a strong leader.
  6. Those that are self aware are able to remain focused even among the many distractions in business environments. You need to train yourself to block everything out but what you are focusing on for long periods of time. That means the distractions of social media, emails and office politics as well.
  7. There are a plethora of courses and self-help guides available to help you build your self-awareness. Personality test like the Myers-Briggs Predictive Index and the Strengths Finder are both popular and very good at helping you dig into self-reflection. These Psychometric tests are useful for getting an objective view of how you behave.
  8. Trying new experiences can help you discover things about yourself that you don’t normally face. Your reactions to new people, environments or demands can help you see how you deal with your everyday life. Take a different type of vacation or try a new hobby. A stimulating or energizing activity may help you find hidden talents or other things you didn’t know about yourself.
  9. Tell your life story to your mentor or coach. They will hear and see much more than the words you are saying. It can help them understand who you are and give you feedback on what they see.
  10. Do a daily writing exercise. Writing down your thoughts and feelings daily can help you build your emotional confidence. It can also help you keep track of the range of emotions you may be experiencing during any particular period of time when you review it at a late time.

Having a high level of self awareness helps you be a better team leader by helping you build better relationships. When you know your strengths and weaknesses, you’re better able to control your emotions, and you can face situations from a distant perspective you are seen as a confident leader by your team members.

How to increase your self awareness as a leader
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