Self-Awareness: Level Up Your Leadership by Looking Within

Self-Awareness: Level Up Your Leadership by Looking Within

“Know thyself, improve thyself, compliment thyself”.

It’s the “trinity of self-awareness” and according to the Harvard Business Review, it’s a blueprint for successful leadership.

Tjan’s book Heart, Smarts, Guts, and Luck explores why knowing yourself makes you a better leader.

Explore “How-Come” vs. “How-To”

There are a million “how-to” books out there on successful leadership. But one group of executive researchers says that the real key to climbing the leadership ladder is not in knowing the “how-tos” but the “how-comes”. In his book, Heart, Smarts, Guts, and Luck, author Anthony Tjan, founder of the VC firm Cue Ball, reveals that self-awareness is “the one quality that trumps all, evident in virtually every great entrepreneur, manager, and leader”. Next-level leaders don’t just know how to run a business, they have looked inside and know why they are doing it-and purpose=motivation to excel.

The conviction (and yes, often ego) that founders and CEOs need for their vision makes them less than optimally wired for embracing vulnerabilities or leading with humility.

Recognize Your Strengths and Weaknesses

It’s certainly easy to dismiss the concept of self-awareness as New Age fluff in the business arena. But having insight into your personal strengths and weaknesses is the kind of knowledge that separates executive from leaders. In fact, Tjan believes that self-awareness is actually more critical for those in entrepreneurial and leadership roles, as those who have a clear look at themselves are able to use their strengths to take a vision forward while building a support team that fills in their weak areas.

Tjan’s book offers a wealth of Stout advice for executives looking to make the leap to leaders-as long as they are willing to look inside and truly understand what drives them and their decision-making. As always, we’ve got the top takeaways to get you started on the path to leveling up with self-awareness.

STOUT Takeaways from Heart, Smarts, Guts and Luck   

▸ Test and Know Yourself Better
Above all, insight is the key to knowing where your strengths – and your pitfalls – lie. Tjan assesses executives according to what he considers the four traits that drive business success: Heart, Smarts, Guts and Luck. But there are many other options for self exploration, from the time-tested Meyers-Briggs assessment to other proprietary methodology. The bottom line is that more knowledge equals more power over your own choices.

▸ Watch Yourself and Learn
Ever made a time capsule, or had to write a letter to your future self for school? If not, it’s time to start. Check the accuracy of your assessments and decisions by writing down your expectation of the results – and checking back in a few months. Accurate? Give yourself a pat on the back, and trust your instincts. If things didn’t turn out as you’d predicted, figure out why, and then apply that knowledge to future situations.

▸ Be Aware of Others
It’s not enough to know yourself. When building a team, you need to be equally aware of each members strengths, weaknesses and styles. Got a great idea person, who is also a procrastinator? Balance them with a organized doer, who can harness and direct the creativity. Balance is the goal – and diversity is the key.

Want to know yourself even more?

Increase your self-awareness – and Stoutness – right now. Visit 16 Personalities, which offers a free personality-assessment tool very similar to the Meyers-Briggs test. And don’t forget to have your team members take it, too – and learn where everyone else is coming from for enhanced efficiency and empathy. Knowledge is power, so fuel up for your leadership journey.

Featured image courtesy of lonerwolf