How self-aware are you? Do you know what your blind spots are? What skills do you excel at? What traits make up your personality and drive your behavior? These are important questions for anyone wanting to practice authentic leadership. And, it’s not just important for the individual leader. It’s critical to organizational performance.
A recent study conducted by The Korn/Ferry Institute demonstrates companies with the greater percentage of self-aware employees consistently outperformed those with a lower percentage (Zes and Landis, 2013). The study found that “poorly performing companies’ employees had 20 percent more blind spots than those working at financially strong companies” and “Poor performing companies’ employees were 79 percent more likely to have low overall self-awareness than those at firms with robust ROR (rate of return).
I’ve advocated for leaders to work to become more self-aware for a long time. Self-awareness enables us to live and lead with greater authenticity and intention. It also is foundational for strong emotional intelligence and resilience. The study by Zes and Landis illustrates the benefits to the organization as well as an individual leader. When we encourage leaders to grow their self-awareness, we create a development culture and learning organization and in turn improve an organization’s performance.
In my new book, The Hero’s Journey: Toward a More Authentic Leadership I invite leaders to undertake a journey to greater self-awareness. When we become more self-aware, we grow our capacity for greater self-management and self-determination. In the end, we become more authentic and impactful leaders. Now the data show benefits at the macro level of an organization. Organizations that encourage leaders to grow in self-awareness and foster a culture of ongoing learning and development (not just training) are building competitive advantage.
The questions I posed at the start are worthy of reflection. To begin to explore them and answer them is to take a step on the hero’s journey. It’s a step that will change your life if you let it. It can also change the lives of the people around you, and in time, it will change your organization. What are you waiting for? As Kabir said, “Wherever you are is the entry point.”
photo (c) Depositphotos.com/Yanc