Great Leadership starts with Self-Leadership

As women, we face many challenges in achieving our goals in the business world but the good news is that the goal of becoming a leader is definitely within your reach. Having the mindset of equality can go a long way in ensuring that you have the confidence as a woman in a leadership role and it all begins with knowing yourself.

Aristotle once famously said, “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom” and these words hold a lot of truth, even in these modern times. This means that self-awareness and being mindful of what your own unique skills set, personality and talents are can go a long way in helping you to achieve success, both personally and professionally.

Being a good leader involves being interested in and learning how other people operate and if we do not know enough about ourselves and how we operate, it is impossible to be an effective leader.

When we understand who we are, our strengths & areas of growth, how we are energized, how we act in certain situations, and what we value the most, we are on track to becoming successful leaders that can add values to other’s lives.

The process of really knowing ourselves can be a long and difficult one but now is a great time to start and it all begins with taking time to doing some self-reflection. You may want to keep a notebook to jot down thoughts that come up and to record any valuable information that you gain from this process.

Questions to get you started if you are new to this process

  • What are my strengths?
  • What are my values?
  • What do I believe in? 
  • What beliefs limit me?
  • Am I energized being around others or being by myself? (introvert, extrovert, mixed)
  • What does my inner critic tell me?
  • When I’m feeling down I like to ___________________
  • I know I’m stressed when I ______________________
  • What am I passionate about?
  • What do I like about my job? What do I dislike?
  • What is my proudest accomplishment?
  • What is my happiest memory?
  • What do my dreams tell me?
  • What do I do to show myself self-compassion and self-care?
  • What am I grateful for?

While it can be valuable to start this process on your own as a first step, you could always ask someone you trust (BFF) to give you feedback on how they perceive you as a person. This is a great idea as viewing yourself from another perspective can yield important information that you may not have thought of. It can also help you to develop confidence in your resources and abilities.

Ask Friends/Co-workers/Boss to describe your

  • Stress tolerance
  • Sustained Attention
  • Flexibility         
  • Response Inhibition      
  • Time Management
  • Planning/Prioritization
  • Task Initiation
  • Goal-Directed Persistence

Some people find that working with a coach can also help a great deal in this process. Business coaching also has the benefit of uncovering any hidden personal characteristics that you were not aware of before.

Questions better understand your leadership style

  • Do I listen to different view-points of my staff?
  • Do I consider these points when making important decisions?
  • Do I hold myself accountable before holding anyone else accountable?
  • Have I readily admitted to a mistake I have made in the past in front of my team?
  • Do I highlight strengths or skills I see in another person and tell them?
  • Do I always treat my staff and others respectfully?
  • Do I help my team and others to win and learn new skills?
  • Do I show empathy and compassion to others?
  • Do I lead with inclusion and delegation that shares the essence of governance?
  • Do I place myself beside my team and not above them?
  • Do I build trust in the truest sense of that term?
  • Am I scrupulously honest in all of my dealings?

As you begin your journey towards self-knowledge, remember to be patient and kind to yourself and you will be successful! Before you know it, you will have gained deep self-awareness and be able to share your wisdom.