Self-aware leaders must be able to recognize their strengths and weaknesses and use that knowledge to do what is best for their organization.

Self-aware leaders understand and manage their personal strengths and weaknesses to optimize leadership impact. A high level of self-awareness is a foundational trait of the best leaders. Without it, the leadership model falls apart.

It’s a continuous journey to achieve what’s commonly known as the “trinity of self-awareness”: know thyself, improve thyself, and complement thyself. More than smart, self-aware leaders have “emotional intelligence.” They are able to take an honest and accurate assessment of their own skills and talents, and use that knowledge to do what’s best for their organizations.

They recognize when they are empowering others and when they tend towards micromanaging, and they build teams that bring needed skills to the table. Their self-awareness inspires trust and admiration as they walk the fine line between conviction and humility. Because they feel confident in their leader, employees feel secure enough to offer new ideas and opinions.

The most effective leaders utilize self-awareness to:

  • Operate in the best interests of the whole. Create an environment that empowers others. Excel at what they do best, but also help employees develop their talents and reach their full potential. Work with teams to problem solve and reach goals. Display humility and a commitment to results over status.
  • Stay focused. Even the best leaders can be derailed. Recognize emotional shortcomings and triggers to remain dedicated to goals. Identify challenging moments and self-regulate reactions. Be both flexible and resilient in response to emotional and professional obstacles.
  • Exude and export positive energy and messages. Define and communicate positive personal and professional values, ethics, and vision. Employ optimism and transparency when discussing challenges, goals, and expectations. Know how and when to have the tough conversations. Recognize the impact actions and attitude have on others. Make personal connections.
  • Operate outside comfort zone. In unfamiliar situations, identify and empower those with greater knowledge. Find ways to use strengths to lead others. Be results-oriented. Ask questions. Be open to feedback and learn from others. Recognize own biases and keep an open mind toward finding solutions and reaching goals.

LFGSM Leaders on Self-Awareness

“Incredibly talented people can get derailed when they fail to identify and understand their strengths and limitations. Being self-aware is the first step in a lifelong journey of becoming a great leader.”

- Jeff Anderson – President and CEO, LFGSM

“You need to have a deep awareness of what you bring to the table as you progress more as a leader. We all have strengths and weaknesses. Once you can identify them in yourself, you can identify them in others and support them as well.”

- Carrie Buchwald, VP of Corporate Learning Solutions, LFGSM

“Think about situations where you’ve been successful, and situations where you’ve been more stressed and less successful. Use these experiences to identify the skills and personality traits you can either emphasize or improve on to be a better leader.”

- Dr. Bryan J. Watkins, Ed.D., Vice President and Chief Academic Officer, LFGSM