Business owners and leaders are under tremendous pressure right now. First and foremost – take care of yourself! The more people that are depending on you – family, employees, strategic partners – the more important it is for you to stay healthy physically and mentally. Then, use self-awareness as your leadership superpower during this crisis to make you a more effective leader of your business, career, and family.
The Great Differentiator Between Success and Failure
One of the most important differentiators between great leaders and those who are merely managing the nuts and bolts is that they utilize self-awareness. I define this skill as the ability to honestly and objectively assess your actions, responses, feelings, and skills without beating yourself up about what you discover. This requires objectivity and balance, and when done effectively, the ability to be self-aware becomes a real leadership superpower.
A study was done analyzing two business owners who had been in business for ten years in the same industry. They came from the same area and received equal educations and access to resources. They were tested for IQ and leadership skills and scored similarly, with the exception of self-awareness. The business owner who had developed a high level of self-awareness had surrounded herself with people who had the skills she lacked and brought in outside help when needed. As a result of being objective about herself and being willing to learn new ways of doing things she built up a $1 billion-dollar company. The business owner who scored low in self-awareness had always struggled during the ten year period was about to file for bankruptcy.
Now is the time to be confident in what you do well and to get real about where you struggle.
From there, you can use your strengths to find solutions, and help, with the latter. Be creative – if you are honest with “your people” (peers, employees, your network, friends, family) about where you are struggling, they will step up to help. Look at your team, your peers, your network as a resource. What skills do they have that you don’t, and how might your strengths benefit them? You see what people are made of during a crisis. I am heartened by all the genuine support being offered by so many.
It is Critical to Look Inward
Pay particular attention to the internal chasms that have become obstacles during these times of stress and address them before they derail your progress. Ask for feedback on how you are handling things and then really listen and act on that information. Find someone to be your accountability partner and help each other push outside your comfort zones. While it may seem counterintuitive, the best time to work on yourself and your business is when it’s hitting the fan!
Finally, identify any mistakes you’ve made, figure out what you can learn from them, forgive yourself, and then move on. There is nothing to be gained from ruminating on woulda, coulda, shoulda’s. People who lead with self-awareness can objectively view missteps as growth opportunities and understand that one cannot push outside comfort zones without taking risks and screwing up.
Self-Awareness is the first step to becoming introspective and allows us to become comfortable owning the solutions that will get us through a crisis.
Stay tuned for Leadership Superpower #2 – Introspection