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Self-Awareness

There is huge amount of research into leadership which has identified any number of leadership theories, including: Transformational, Bureaucratic, Transactional, Servant, Autocratic and Democratic leadership to name but a few.  There are also many leadership styles, including Coercive, Authoritative, Affiliative and Coaching amongst others. However, before thinking about how we are to lead those we are responsible for, we must first understand and lead the most important person of all, ourselves.  If we cannot lead ourselves, we certainly won’t be prepared to understand and effectively lead others.. This is because we can’t give what we don’t have.  It is all about personal leadership.  Whilst we may be granted authority over others that does not make one a leader.  Leadership must be earned and deserved.   We must lead by example, walk the talk, communicate motivate and even inspire others.  Without followers, none of the people we refer to as leaders would be referred to as such.  Leadership is very much about the ability to gain trust, build rapport and maintain a relationship with those that you lead.

In his Harvard Business Review article “The Mark of a Great Leader.”
(Via Allison Dolan) http://blogs.hbr.org/goldsmith/2010/02/the_mark_of_a_great_leader.html Marshall Goldsmith says that the key trait of today’s leader is self-awareness.

Greater self–awareness can help leaders to:

  • Gain a better understanding of their own behaviour,

  • Understand what it is that motivates them,

  • Develop their ‘emotional intelligence’, enabling them to monitor and manage their emotional responses in a variety of situations,

  • Understand their individual strengths

  • Identify any areas for development

Once a leader has gained this higher level of self-awareness they can use this to enhance their leadership and:

  • Monitor their personal performance,

  • Identify where they excel and where they need improvement.

  • Become aware of the impact their behavior has on others, especially those that they lead

  • Vary their leadership style to better suit the need and people