By Tanveer Naseer, award-winning, internationally acclaimed leadership writer, keynote speaker, and author of Leadership Vertigo
There’s no question that today’s leaders are facing increasing demands on their time, attention, and resources as well as rising pressure levels in which to perform.
No doubt this is why there’s been a growing interest in how leaders can increase their self-awareness. As such, I’d like to share the following three steps that every leader can employ in order to increase their self-awareness about how they lead their employees.
1. SCHEDULE TIME IN YOUR AGENDA FOR REFLECTION
If there’s one thing all of us are familiar with in today’s fast-paced work environment, it’s that if you don’t schedule time in your workweek to do something, it’s not likely to get done. That’s why the first and most important step in the process of increasing our self-awareness is regularly scheduling time for reflection and review.
Granted, it can seem like a luxury when we consider the numerous demands on our time and attention. However, you need to remind yourself that the reason you’re doing this is to help you become more effective in how you lead your team and organization.
2. REMOVE DISTRACTIONS FROM YOUR SURROUNDINGS
When the time comes for us to begin reflecting on our leadership, it’s important that we make sure we remove all distractions from our surroundings. That means turning off smartphone notifications, closing our computer screens, and muting our phone.
Again, thanks to today’s 24/7, always-on digital environment, it’s very easy for us to get caught up in what’s going on around us. But we have to remember that what’s key to our ability to succeed is making time to better understand whether we are providing the right conditions to bring out the best in those we lead. So give yourself that space to focus on you and how you can be a better leader.
3. CREATE A LIST OF QUESTIONS TO BEGIN THE REFLECTION PROCESS
So now that we’ve dedicated time for reflecting on our leadership and have created a space that frees us to focus on ourselves, the next thing we need is a road map to help guide us through this process of increasing our self-awareness.
The way to do this is by writing up a list of questions that will help you reflect on your leadership and what it’s really like to work under you. It’s important, though, that these questions involve some deep introspection, as the answers are not as obvious as we might think they are. Here are some examples to help give you an idea of the kinds of questions you need for this step:
- How did I react when issues were brought to my attention?
- How aware am I of the emotional states of those around me?
Although these steps are pretty straightforward, when put together they become a powerful tool that will help you to better understand how you show up as a leader in your organization, by increasing your self-awareness about the way you lead.